A phone call between US President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin has begun, said the White House on Saturday, just a day after Washington warned a Russian invasion of Ukraine could come “at any time.”

The secure call began at 11.04 EST (1604GMT).

Earlier in the day, the US State Department ordered the departure of most US employees from its embassy in Kyiv, citing “the continued threat of Russian military action.”

The Pentagon also pulled 160 military trainers out of Ukraine and relocated them elsewhere in Europe, said spokesman John Kirby.

Ukraine has been plagued by conflict in its eastern regions since March 2014 following Russia’s invasion and annexation of Crimea.

Moscow recently amassed more than 100,000 troops near Ukraine, prompting fears that the Kremlin could be planning another military offensive against its ex-Soviet neighbor.

Russia has denied it is preparing to invade and accused Western countries of undermining its security by NATO’s expansion toward its borders.

The Kremlin also issued a list of security demands to the West, including a rollback of troop deployments from some ex-Soviet states and guarantees that Ukraine and Georgia would not join NATO.

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