US Orders Families of All US Embassy Staff in Kyiv to Leave Ukraine for Fear of Russian Invasion | American News
The United States has ordered the families of all US embassy staff in Kyiv to leave Ukraine amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion.
The U.S. State Department has told dependents of U.S. Embassy staff at Ukraine‘s capital that they must leave the country and said non-essential employees could also leave at government expense.
US officials stressed that the Kiev embassy will remain open and the announcement does not constitute an evacuation.
Read more: What’s happening on the Russian-Ukrainian border and where is Moscow hiding its tanks and missiles?
The decision had been under consideration for some time and did not reflect a softening of US support for Ukraine, the officials added.
The move comes amid growing tensions over Russiamilitary reinforcement of Ukraine on the Ukrainian border which have not been mitigated during talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov earlier Friday.
In a statement, the State Department noted recent reports that Russia was planning significant military action against Ukraine.
However, the Russian Foreign Ministry has accused NATO countries of aggravating tensions around Ukraine through disinformation.
People said not to go to Ukraine and Russia
US citizens have also been advised not to travel to the country due to “heightened threats of Russian military action and COVID-19”, the US State Department said.
What’s happening at the Russian-Ukrainian border?
“Security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russian-occupied Crimea and in Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate without notice,” he said. -he adds.
“Protests, sometimes violent, occur regularly across Ukraine, including in Kyiv.”
The department asked all US citizens currently in the country to complete an online form to “better communicate” with them if needed.
“It’s especially important if you plan to stay in Ukraine,” he said.
The State Department also advised U.S. citizens not to travel to Russia, adding that they are “strongly discouraged from traveling overland from Russia to Ukraine through this region.”
What does the UK advise?
In the UK, the Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to Ukraine, but continues to assess the situation.
“The safety and security of our staff and British nationals is our top priority. We are monitoring the situation closely,” a Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office spokesperson said.
Ireland voices concern over Russian Navy drills
Meanwhile, Ireland has raised concerns over planned Russian Navy military exercises due to take place in early February.
The artillery drills will take place in international waters but within Irish controlled airspace and within the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
All civil aircraft will be kept away from the area during the exercises.
In accordance with legal requirements, Russia informed the Irish aviation authorities in advance of the planned exercises.
Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney raised the issue with Russian Ambassador to Ireland Yury Filatov and is expected to discuss his concerns with other EU foreign ministers in Brussels on Monday.
“Under international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, states have the right to conduct naval exercises in another state’s EEZ,” Coveney said.
“The Irish Aviation Authority has been notified of the exercise via standard procedures and has issued a statement to that effect.
“In light of the current political and security environment in Europe, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has raised a number of concerns with the Russian authorities regarding these exercises. We will continue these discussions in the coming days.