We’re wrapping up our live politics coverage from today, as warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine dominate the news.
Here’s a summary of today’s key events, from my colleague Joan Greve and me.
- The US warned of the “very distinct possibility” of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in the next few days, saying an attack could occur during the Beijing Olympics. “I will not comment on the details of our intelligence information,” the US national security adviser, Jake Sullivan, said at today’s White House briefing. “But I do want to be clear, it could begin during the Olympics, despite a lot of speculation that it would only happen after the Olympics. As we’ve said before, we are ready either way.”
- The White House urged all Americans still in Ukraine to leave in the next 24 to 48 hours. “We obviously cannot predict the future. We don’t know exactly what is going to happen,” Sullivan said. “But the risk is now high enough and the threat is now immediate enough that this is what prudence demands. If you stay, you are assuming risks with no guarantee that there will be any other opportunity to leave.” Sullivan warned a Russian attack on Ukraine may include aerial bombing that would endanger civilian lives.
- Joe Biden told allied leaders in a private call today that Vladimir Putin has made the decision to move forward with an invasion, according to diplomatic sources. But Sullivan said US intelligence does not currently indicate that Putin has made a final call about launching an invasion.
- Biden and Putin will have a phone call tomorrow to discuss the Ukraine crisis, the White House confirmed. The US president has already arrived at Camp David for the weekend, and he is expected to continue receiving updates from intelligence officials about the situation in Ukraine.
- Biden signed an executive order to allocate $7bn in funds to humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan and American families impacted by terrorism. The executive order involves the US-held funds of Afghanistan’s central bank, which were frozen after the Taliban takeover of the country. Biden allocated $3.5bn of those funds for humanitarian projects in Afghanistan, which is facing widespread starvation due to the country’s economic collapse, and another $3.5bn for American families affected by Taliban terrorism. Some of those families lost loved ones in the September 11 attacks and have filed lawsuits against the Taliban.
- A Canadian judge ordered an end to a five-day blockade of a bridge at the…