Ukrainian officials responded harshly to the Biden administration on Monday over its decision to urge the families of American diplomats to leave the country ahead of an anticipated invasion from Russia.
What are the details?
According to BuzzFeed News, a source close to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky countered the administration's claims of a coming Russian attack, saying Zelensky "does not think there’s any remotely imminent threat to Kyiv."
"The fact that the US was the first one to announce this is extremely disappointing and quite frankly these Americans are safer in Kyiv than they are in Los Angeles ... or any other crime-ridden city in the US," the source added.
The statement came as Russia has amassed more than 100,000 troops near the border with Ukraine in recent weeks. Russian President Vladimir Putin continues to deny that he is preparing for an attack. President Joe Biden, however, has said he thinks an invasion of some sort is more likely than not.
In anticipation of an imminent attack, Biden's State Department on Sunday ordered the evacuation of family members of diplomats and authorized the departure of some U.S. government employees, adding that "military action by Russia could come at any time."
The State Department also elevated its travel advisory to "Level 4 — Do Not Travel" due to the military threat and warned that it "will not be in a position to evacuate U.S. citizens" from Ukraine in the event of a Russian invasion.
The stark warnings were characterized by Ukrainian officials as "utterly ridiculous" and symbolic of what it views as "US inconsistency," BuzzFeed reported.
"On the one hand, [Washington tells Ukraine] how we should democratize. We stand with you. It's your right to determine to join the West. We will stand with you against Russian aggression," the source reportedly said, rehashing past messages from the U.S. "Then Russia turns up the temperature and they’re the first to leave."
On Monday, Biden also ordered the Pentagon to put 8,500 troops on heightened alert for potential deployment to Europe in response to Russia's fear mongering.
This was the second time in under a week that Ukrainian officials have criticized Biden over his messaging on the Ukraine-Russia situation.
In a press conference last week, Biden appeared to downplay the consequences of a "minor incursion" by Russia, sewing doubt as to whether the U.S. or NATO allies would respond with force should Russian invade its neighboring country.
Biden would go on to strangely predict that Putin "will move in" to Ukraine because "he has to do something."
Ukrainian officials were reportedly "stunned" by the president's comments, adding, "It gives the green light to Putin to enter Ukraine at his pleasure."
In a tweet, Zelensky said, "We want to remind the great powers that there are no minor incursions and small nations. Just as there are no minor casualties and little grief from the loss of loved ones. I say this as the President of a great power."