The State Department ordered all American workers in the US Embassy in Ukraine and their families to leave the country on Sunday, citing increased concerns of a Russian invasion.
Dependents of officials at the US Embassy in Kyiv were notified by the department that they needed to leave the country. It further said that non-essential embassy personnel might be allowed to depart Ukraine at the expense of the government.
The action occurred amid escalating tensions over Russia’s military buildup along Ukraine’s border, which were not alleviated during Friday’s discussions in Geneva between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.
The embassy in Kyiv will stay open, according to State Department officials, and the statement does not represent an evacuation. The decision had been in the works for some time and does not signal a shift in US support for Ukraine, according to officials.
The State Department issued a statement in response to recent rumors that Russia was considering major military action against Ukraine. The Russian Foreign Ministry, on the other hand, has accused NATO nations of using misinformation to inflame tensions around Ukraine.
“Security situations, notably around Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little warning,” according to the State Department. Demonstrations, some of which have become violent, are held on a regular basis around Ukraine, including in Kyiv.”
The Department of State’s travel alert, which previously advised against traveling to Ukraine because to COVID-19 and tensions with Russia, was updated on Sunday to include a harsher caution.
“Because of the increasing risks of Russian military action and COVID-19, do not travel to Ukraine.” Due to criminality and civil upheaval in Ukraine, proceed with caution. “Risk is higher in some regions,” the government said.
“Do not travel to Russia due to ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, harassment by Russian government security officials, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law,” the travel advisory for Russia was also changed.
The State Department refused to reveal how many Americans are believed to be in Ukraine at the moment. When citizens of the United States arrive in another country or plan to stay for a lengthy amount of time, they are not needed to register with embassies.