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National Security Advisor On Americans In Ukraine: ‘Move Out By Air Or Rail Or Road As Rapidly As Possible’

On Sunday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan appeared on CBS’ “Face the Nation” with host Margaret Brennan.

During the segment, Brennan asked about the timeline for Americans wanting to leave Ukraine, given Sullivan’s remarks about fleeing the former Soviet state on Friday.

“…you said on Friday in the White House Briefing Room, Americans should get out within the next 24 to 48 hours,” Brennan said. “That puts us at today. What are you telling Americans who remain? Should they go underground? Is it too late to leave now?”

Sullivan responded, saying that “as long as commercial transport options are available, Americans should take advantage of them.”

After noting that he hoped Americans had responded to previous warnings to flee Ukraine, Sullivan reiterated that Americans “should move out by air or rail or road as rapidly as possible” because if war breaks out, the president doesn’t plan to send “forces to fight Russia in that war.”

Sullivan’s message tracks with a State Department Level 4 travel advisory that was issued on Saturday. After urging Americans to leave Ukraine, the advisory noted that “the U.S. government will not be able to evacuate U.S. citizens in the event of Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine.”

TRANSCRIPT:

BRENNAN: Right. I mean, you said on Friday in the White House Briefing Room, Americans should get out within the next 24 to 48 hours. That puts us at today. What are you telling Americans who remain? Should they go underground? Is it too late to leave now?

SULLIVAN: As long as commercial transport options are available, Americans should take advantage of them. We had hoped, based on our warnings, that Americans would have gotten out by now, but, as long as those commercial transit options are available, Americans should avail themselves of them. They should move out by air or rail or road as rapidly as possible, because, as I said also on Friday, if there is military action, if there is a war between Russia and Ukraine started by a Russian invasion of Ukraine, President Biden is not intending to send in American forces to fight Russia in that war. And Americans who have the opportunity to get out now should avail themselves of it.

BRENNAN: But airspace remains open right now. If Russia does carry out this invasion, you’ve talked about the consequences with sanctions, but are you committed to actually funding, arming, helping a Ukrainian insurgency?

SULLIVAN: Well, what the president has said is that we will continue to support Ukraine even after an invasion begins. And I’m not going to get into the specific details of what that will look like, but it is one of the three fundamental elements of our response — continue to support Ukraine as it seeks to resist Russian aggression, second, impose severe and swift economic measures, in concert with our allies and partners, that go at Russia’s financial system and at its defense industrial base, and then, third, reinforce, reassure, and deter. That is, reinforce NATO territory, reassure our allies on the eastern flank, and deter Russia from any action against NATO allies, to whom we have a sacred Article 5 commitment to defend. We are going to carry out all of those actions, in the event that Russia moves forward. And we’ve been very clear about that.

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