US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin on Saturday ordered 160 members of the Florida National Guard to leave Ukraine, as the UK made a similar move. Officials in Washington, based on evidence they refuse to make public, claim that Russia is preparing to invade the country.
“Secretary Austin has ordered the temporary repositioning of the 160 members of the Florida National Guard who have been deployed to Ukraine since late November,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told reporters. Kirby said that the move was being made out of an “abundance of caution,” and that the troops, who had been training their Ukrainian counterparts, would be relocated elsewhere in Europe.
The move came hours after the State Department partially evacuated the US embassy in Kiev, and a day after National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan urged Americans to leave Ukraine as soon as possible. The UK has taken similar steps, pulling its military instructors from the country and urging its citizens to get out “while commercial means are still available.”