Tom Nides
Tom Nides US Embassy in Jerusalem

US Ambassador to Israel Thomas Nides on Tuesday warned that thousands of people could be killed in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, i24NEWS reported.

"This is a tragedy. [Russian President Vladimir] Putin is a madman, and unfortunately thousands of people could be killed, hundreds of thousands of people have already fled, creating one of the largest refugee crises Europe has seen probably in 40 years, if not more," Nides said at a Jewish People Policy Institute event in Jerusalem.

Nides said he has met with the Ukrainian ambassador to Israel several times in the past week, and has had "hundreds of conversations with Israeli officials" recently about the crisis.

Despite US intelligence predicting the Russian invasion and continuing to provide information about Moscow's goals and strategy, the US envoy said that "no one really believes in an invasion."

"I can't describe what is unfolding before our eyes. I don't think any of us had considered this, to be honest," Nides acknowledged.

"Europe and the world are coming together to show unity. If you had told me, or any of us in this room, that every one of our European colleagues would impose sanctions on Russia as they have done, at their own risk and expense, I don't think we would have believed it. We could not imagine such a thing," the ambassador continued.