Relatives of US diplomats stationed in Kyiv should start leaving Ukraine, the US State Department said on Sunday.
US orders families of embassy staff to leave Ukraine
STEPANAKERT, JANUARY 24, ARTSAKHPRESS: The State Department advised against traveling to Ukraine due to "increased threats of Russian military action" and COVID-19, Deutsche Welle reported.
In a travel advisory published on its website, the State Department said that there were reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine.
Besides ordering the departure of eligible family members of the Kyiv embassy staff, Washington also authorized the voluntary departure of embassy employees. According to the AP news agency, their departure is at the US government's expense.
"The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine's borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice," the State Department's travel advisory said.
"Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv."
AP cited State Department officials as saying that the embassy will remain open and the announcement does not constitute an evacuation. They added that the move does not reflect an easing of US support for Ukraine and had been under consideration for some time.
Late on Sunday, the State Department also reissued its advisory for Russia, warning US citizens not to travel there, due to "ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine." It also advised US citizens not to travel from Russia to Ukraine by land.