The US government on Sunday ordered the families of US diplomats stationed in Kiev to leave Ukraine “due to the continuing threat of a Russian military operation”.
Local staff and non-essential personnel may leave the embassy if they wish and U.S. nationals residing in Ukraine “should now consider” leaving the country by commercial flights or other means of transportation, the statement added. of the US State Department. “The security situation, especially along the Ukrainian borders, in Russian-occupied Crimea and in Russian-controlled Donetsk, is unpredictable and could deteriorate at any time,” the statement said.
“A Russian invasion… could happen at any time”
“U.S. nationals in Ukraine should be aware that a Russian military operation anywhere in Ukraine would seriously affect the ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services, including assistance to U.S. citizens leaving Ukraine,” warns the state department. The ministry is calling on the American community in Ukraine to educate themselves on “what the US government can and cannot do to assist you during a crisis abroad.”
“We believe that a Russian invasion… could happen at any moment,” a senior US official told reporters. “The United States would not be in a position to evacuate American citizens in this scenario”. The embassy remains open and Chargé d’Affaires Kristina Kvien “stays in Ukraine” and the United States, added this official who requested anonymity.
She declined to specify the number of Americans on Ukrainian soil, but US Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland had estimated their number at between 10,000 and 15,000 in early December on CNN.
The United States advises its nationals not to go to Russia
The State Department also advises against all travel to Ukraine due to the possibility of a Russian invasion. Ukraine was already not recommended for American travelers due to the Covid.
The US government also advises US nationals against traveling to Russia, in particular because of “the possibility of harassment of US citizens”, in particular by Russian police, and “arbitrary application of local laws”.
Westerners accuse Russia of having deployed more than 100,000 soldiers on the borders of Ukraine to prepare an invasion of this former Soviet republic. The White House has warned that Russia could launch its offensive “at any time”.
The Kremlin denies any belligerent intention but conditions a de-escalation on treaties guaranteeing the non-enlargement of NATO, in particular to Ukraine, and a withdrawal from the Atlantic Alliance in Eastern Europe.