President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin engaged in an hour-long phone call Saturday, February 12, in an attempt to ease tensions over Russian military aggression with its neighbor, Ukraine. While both had stated in previous reports that a diplomatic solution was possible, the call allegedly failed to ease tensions as no changes between the countries’ stances have changed.

During the diplomatic phone call, Biden had made it clear that there would be severe costs on Russia if it proceeds to invade Ukraine.

“President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our Allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia,” said the White House in a press release.

A few days ago, SOFREP reported a statement made by National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan that the Russian threat of invasion was “immediate” (which seems to be the same as when it was being called “imminent”)and recommended that all Americans living in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible within 24 to 48 hours. This statement came after US intelligence reports stated that a Russian invasion of Ukraine might start on February 16.

The United States Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine ( Source:
The United States Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine (112 Agency)

Since then, the United States Embassy in Kyiv has started its evacuation procedures, citing security concerns. However, a limited number of staff members would stay behind for communication purposes. The State Department has also said that a small consular presence in Lviv, Ukraine, would be maintained to respond to emergencies. Lviv is located in the West end of Ukraine near Poland, a key NATO ally.

As a result of the United States’ intelligence reports, evacuation, and the aforementioned phone call between Biden and Putin, several countries have also urged their citizens to leave Ukraine, fearing an impending invasion. Countries such as Australia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Canada have since urged their citizens to move out of Ukraine as soon as possible, with some following suit to evacuate their respective embassies and transfer them to Lviv. Furthermore, Dutch airline KLM has stopped operations and flights to and from Ukraine due to tensions, with Germany’s Lufthansa also considering suspension.

While the US seems to have its mind made up about Russia’s impending invasion, Ukrainian citizens seem to be calm about the crisis, with a majority believing that a diplomatic solution is possible. According to a report by BBC’s Zhanna Bezpiatchuk, no major signs of panic were seen in Ukraine’s capital or other major Ukrainian cities, for that matter. However, the citizens are well aware of the Russian threat. They have been living under these threats for many years, as demonstrated by a recent rally in Kyiv to show unity against Russia.

SOFREP has expressed its skepticism about a Russian invasion happening at any moment, expressing that no ultimatum has been made by Russia, the winter season being a terrible time to launch an invasion and the relatively low number of troops arrayed against a country of some 44 million people. Despite its 100,000 plus troops on or near the Ukraine-Russia border, they are in tents and their vehicles parked in neat rows and not in combat formation at their jumping-off points revving their tank engines. We would also expect to see numerous field hospitals in place along with large ammunition and fuel depots in place before an ‘imminent’ invasion were to take place.