Updated Feb 12, 2022 - World

U.S. evacuates Ukraine embassy ahead of Biden-Putin call

Presidents Putin and Biden shake hands in Switzerland in June of 2021. Photo: Brendan Smialowski via Getty Images

The U.S. is evacuating most embassy staff from Ukraine's capital city of Kyiv as top U.S. officials publicly warn a Russian invasion could be imminent.

Between the lines: President Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin are planning to speak by phone on Saturday, AP reports. Putin is also scheduled to speak with French President Emmanuel Macron, who visited Russia earlier this week.

The big picture: Russia has amassed roughly 100,000 troops near Ukraine's borders.

  • “We’re in the window when a Russian invasion can start at any time if President Putin so decides,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters on Saturday, The New York Times reports.
  • The Times notes: "The United States has picked up intelligence that Russia is discussing next Wednesday as the target date for the start of military action, officials said, acknowledging the possibility that mentioning a particular date could be part of a Russian disinformation effort."

The other side: Russia has said it is not planning on an attack, AP notes.

  • “The hysteria of the White House is more indicative than ever,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. “The Anglo-Saxons need a war. At any cost. Provocations, misinformation and threats are a favorite method of solving their own problems.”

Between the lines: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin spoke Saturday with his counterpart in Russia, minister of defense Sergey Shoygu, according to the Department of Defense.

Go deeper: Satellite images show increased Russian military buildup near Ukraine

Editor's note: This story has been corrected to note that Lloyd Austin is secretary of defense, not secretary of state.

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