US orders evacuation of embassy in Kyiv amid threat of Russian invasion

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The US State Department issued a travel advisory early Saturday morning, saying the US Embassy in Kyiv had been evacuated amid the threat of a Russian invasion.

“On February 12, 2022, the Department of State ordered the departure of most direct-hire U.S. employees from the Embassy in Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action,” the travel advisory reads. .

The level four advisory also urged US citizens not to travel to the area and those remaining in the country to leave “immediately”.

The State Department added that on Sunday the embassy in Kyiv will suspend all consular services and “will maintain a small consular presence in Lviv, Ukraine to handle emergencies, but will not be able to provide passports, visas or routine consular services”.

A senior State Department official said some staff would remain in Kyiv, while others would move to Lviv, but declined to provide figures on how many people each would have.

The official explained that one of the reasons why some employees were transferred to Lviv, which is located in the western region of Ukraine, was “its closer proximity to American diplomatic and consular facilities in neighboring countries”. , so managers can coordinate closely with nearby colleagues and move around. get people out safely if necessary should Russia engage in military action.

The official said “a few thousand Americans” had told the United States in recent days that they were in the country and that officials had been in contact with them to find out if they intended to leave.

The official noted that it was difficult for officials to know at any time how many Americans were in a country, including Ukraine, but said that of the several thousand who had been in contact, some were already gone.

The official pointed out that war is becoming an increasingly likely scenario.

“It seems increasingly likely that this is where … this situation is heading, towards some kind of active conflict,” the senior State Department official said, noting that it was “later” than the private citizens leave the country.

The official said they were not engaged in arranging departures for Americans, noting that people had had “many opportunities” to leave the country.

The official added that “very few US citizens who have been in contact with us in recent days have expressed an inability to physically leave the country.”

The news is the latest development in what appears to be an increasingly volatile situation in the former Soviet state.

The Russian military has amassed hundreds of thousands of troops on its border with Ukraine, a posture that hasn’t changed much in weeks amid efforts by the US, Canada, UK and other Western allies to diplomatically resolve the escalating situation.

Russia has demanded that NATO refuse to admit Ukraine and other former Soviet states into its alliance, a request the organization has rejected.

White House National Security Advisor JakeSullivanJake SullivanU.S. Offers Ukraine $1 Billion Loan Guarantee Defense and National Security Overnight – Ukraine Warning Sparks Invasion Rumors Pentagon mulls new way to arm Ukrainians if Russia invades MORE sounded the alarm on Friday afternoon, warning that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could take place “any day now”, and the Secretary of State Antoine BlinkenAntony BlinkenU.S. offers Ukraine $1 billion loan guarantee State Department urges U.S. citizens to leave Belarus amid Russian military buildup along border Defense and National Security Today overnight – Ukraine warning sparks invasion rumors MORE sounded a similar tone, stating that “we are in a window where an invasion could begin at any time”.

News of a possible Russian incursion comes in the middle of the 2022 Winter Olympics, a second time when athletes from around the world traveled to Beijing specifically to compete.

“This is the second time that Russia has escalated its aggression against a sovereign country during the Beijing Olympics,” Daniel Kritenbrink, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said during the meeting. of a press briefing at the beginning of the month.

The Biden administration, including President BidenFDA’s pick of Joe BidenBiden clears key hurdle in Senate Overnight Healthcare – DC End Mask, Vaccine Mandates US Unity Key to Europe Whole and Free MORE himself, warned that the Americans should evacuate the country voluntarily amid the threat of Russian aggression.

In its advisory on Saturday, the State Department reiterated the dangers of war between Ukraine and its neighbor.

“Continuing reports point to a build-up of the Russian military on the border with Ukraine, indicating potential for significant military action against Ukraine,” he said.

“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.

However, it is still unclear whether the Russian President Vladimir PoutineVladimir Vladimirovich PutinSenators eyes Plan B amid Russia sanctions impasse US unity key to Europe whole and free Biden administration eyes Ukraine B loan guarantee will certainly give the order to invade, and some experts remain skeptical of a full-scale attack.

Biden is expected to speak with Putin on Saturday about developments.

The United States and its allies have warned of crushing economic sanctions against Russia if it chooses to invade Ukraine.

Updated at 10:11 a.m.

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