Ukrainian forces ready at the border
Ukrainian forces ready at the borderReuters, Vyacheslav Madiyevskyy

The world is eagerly awaiting the conclusion of a telephone conversation Saturday between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin in which Biden is making a latch-ditch effort to forestall a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

In Washington, it is estimated that Russia is expected to launch an attack on its neighbor in the coming days, and ordered the evacuation of the American embassy in Kiev. The Pentagon also ordered the evacuation of all 160 U.S. advisers from Ukraine.

In Israel, it was decided to prepare for the expulsion of Israelis from the Ukraine, and the Foreign Ministry moved to work on emergency procedures.

Diaspora Minister Nachman Shai said that Jews in Ukraine should be brought to Israel if they wanted to come: "Israel is the national home of the Jewish people. If the Jewish community in Ukraine gets into trouble as a result of a conflict between Russia and Ukraine, we must offer them an immediate solution of emergency immigration to Israel, now," Shai said.

In a situational assessment held on Saturday, headed by Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, it was agreed to prepare for the possibility of bringing Israelis from Ukraine under government auspices.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz held security consultations regarding the situation in Ukraine over Shabbat. Following the latest developments, the Defense Minister instructed the IDF to prepare for the possibility of assistance in bringing Israeli citizens back to Israel.

The possibility of tightening the travel warning to Ukraine - and calling on Israelis to leave the country - is being considered. The families of the evacuated Israeli diplomats are expected to return to Israel tomorrow. Since the publication of the Foreign Ministry's announcement last night, 4,000 Israelis have registered to receive updates from the Foreign Ministry.

In the afternoon, the Russian military reported that an American submarine was identified in Russia's territorial waters, near the Kuril Islands. These are islands that Russia occupied from Japan in 1945 and since then these territories have been the subject of a territorial dispute between the countries.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy criticized America's warnings regarding an imminent Russian invasion of his country, saying that the warnings only served to stoke panic.

"We understand all the risks. We understand that the risks are there," Zelensky told reporters on Saturday. "Right now, the people's biggest enemy is panic in our country. And all this information is only provoking panic and not helping us."

"If you or anyone has any additional information about a 100-percent chance of an invasion, give it to us," he added.

The Kremlin issued a statement regarding the conference between Biden and Putin, saying: "The hysteria has reached its peak. The warnings of an invasion are absurd. Biden warned of severe sanctions, but did not emphasize them during the conversation with Putin."