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NATO allies concerned by Zelensky’s decision to leave Ukraine, threat of Russian invasion almost certain

NATO allies, including White House officials, are concerned about Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s decision to leave Kyiv for the Munich security conference this weekend, sources told Fox News on Friday. .

Allies in the 30-member alliance are said to fear Russia could exploit the president’s absence as tension in Eastern Europe has reached a boiling point not seen in decades.


NATO allies concerned by Zelensky’s decision to leave Ukraine, threat of Russian invasion almost certainAn image released by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry on Thursday, February 17, 2022 shows the frontline in Donbass, an area of ​​conflict with Russian-backed separatists, during President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s visit to the Donetsk region, at the eastern Ukraine. EYEPRESS via Reuters Connect

Zelenskyy, who is due to meet Vice President Kamala Harris on Saturday, should be a key target if Russia succeeds in invading Kiev, sources confirmed.

President Biden said on Friday he was “convinced” that Russian President Vladimir Putin has decided to invade Ukraine.

Responding to reporters’ questions about whether he thought it would be a mistake for Zelensky to leave Ukraine at this time, Biden said, “It may not be…the wise choice, but it’s his decision.”

“That’s a judgment he has to make,” Biden said. “It’s in the search for a diplomatic solution.”

A senior US defense official told Fox News Digital that there is a strong possibility of a “significant invasion” by the Russian military in the coming days and that Kiev is its sites.

The official said Russian military forces had left their barracks and about 40-50 percent of Putin’s troops moved to attack positions, putting them within striking distance of the Ukrainian border.

Putin now has 120-125 battalion tactical groups assembled along the Ukrainian border. All special forces have been mobilized and rocket forces as well as ballistic missile units are within range of the capital.

The destabilization efforts that the United States and NATO warned against “have begun”, the senior US defense official said.

Tensions in eastern Ukraine, where Russian-backed separatists have clashed with the Ukrainian military since 2014, have been rising this week and sparked an exchange of artillery fire that began on Thursday.


NATO allies concerned by Zelensky’s decision to leave Ukraine, threat of Russian invasion almost certainA participant in an open civil defense exercise takes aim at a target, Uzhhorod, western Ukraine Serhii Hudak/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

The leaders of two of the separatist groups called for the evacuation of the separatist regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and the leaders of the self-declared republics claimed on Friday that Russia had agreed to take in the evacuees.

Ukrainian officials and Russian-backed separatists have blamed each other for the attacks.

The United States did not say who was responsible for the attacks, but officials sounded the alarm that Russia was setting the stage for an incursion.

The State Department this week pointed to Putin’s false allegations of human rights abuses, and a spokesperson told Fox News Digital that the evacuation effort was just the latest “operation under false flag”.

Harris reiterated that the Biden administration remains committed to engaging with Moscow, but said the security talks will focus on maintaining a united front to deter Russian aggression.

“We have made it clear that we remain open to diplomacy,” she said from Munich on Friday. “The onus is on Russia at this point to demonstrate that they are serious about this.”

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