Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Monday said that he has been informed that Russia will attack on Wednesday.
The comments from the Ukrainian leader, made in an address to his nation posted on Facebook, come amid heightened tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.
Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the Ukrainian border. The troop buildup had raised concerns among the U.S. and NATO allies that Russia is planning a military incursion, but Moscow has continually denied having any such plans.
Officials from Ukraine, Russia and NATO nations have engaged in diplomatic discussions for weeks with hopes of easing the tensions in the region, but the conversations did not bear any breakthroughs.
Zelensky wrote in a statement on Facebook that Ukraine will hold a Day of Unity on Wednesday. He said the relevant decree has already been signed.
“We are told that February 16 will be the day of the attack,” he said, according to a Facebook translation of his comments.
President BidenJoe BidenCory Booker and Rosario Dawson have reportedly split US ups estimate of Russian forces on Ukraine border to 130,000 Harris heads to Munich at pivotal moment MORE spoke to Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinPope leads crowd in silent prayer for Ukraine US officials warn diplomatic efforts are ‘shrinking’ amid Russia-Ukraine tensions If Russia invades Ukraine, what’s next? MORE on Saturday and said that “swift and severe costs” would follow if Moscow invaded Ukraine.
Biden administration officials have warned that Ukraine could be invaded “any day now.”
The Hill has reached out to the White House and Pentagon for comment.
Soon after Zelensky posted his statement, Secretary of State Antony BlinkenAntony BlinkenBlinken tells Russia ‘diplomatic path remains open’ US, Japan, South Korea meet in Hawaii to discuss North Korea Biden warns Putin of ‘swift and severe costs’ if Russia invades Ukraine MORE announced that the U.S. was “in the process of temporarily relocating our Embassy operations” from Kyiv to Lviv “due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces.”
The Associated Press, citing intelligence obtained by the U.S., previously reported that Russia was eyeing Wednesday as the target date for an attack. U.S. officials on Sunday said they were unable to confirm reports regarding the timeline.
Monday’s announcement from Zelensky, however, appears to confirm those reports.
On Saturday, the State Department ordered most U.S. employees at the embassy in Kyiv to leave. White House national security adviser Jake SullivanJake SullivanUS set to pull all personnel from Kyiv within 48 hours: report Harris heads to Munich at pivotal moment KLM airline cancels flights into Ukraine amid rising tensions MORE also said on Friday all Americans in Ukraine should leave as soon as possible in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Sullivan on Sunday said the U.S. observed “a dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces” in the previous 10 days or so, suggesting that Moscow “could launch a military action, essentially at any time.”
Zelensky on Monday said Ukraine would like to resolve all issues at hand through negotiations, and U.S. officials have emphasized that a diplomatic path forward is preferred.
On Sunday, however, Pentagon press secretary John KirbyJohn KirbyUS F-22 fighter jets arrive at UAE base in wake of Houthi attacks US officials warn diplomatic efforts are ‘shrinking’ amid Russia-Ukraine tensions Sunday shows: No breakthrough in Russia-Ukraine tensions MORE said the “time component” for diplomatic efforts between Russia and Ukraine “seems to be shrinking,” a development he said “gives us all cause for concern.”
–Updated at 2:38 p.m.