Faced with an imminent Russian invasion, Washington ordered relatives of US diplomatic personnel in Ukraine on Sunday night to leave the country immediately. Only diplomatic personnel remain in the country, but sources from the State Department said on Sunday that non-essential personnel are likely to be evacuated from there in the coming hours.
In addition, an official recommendation not to travel to Ukraine from the US to its citizens due to the pandemic was modified on the same Sunday. It says now: “Do not travel to Ukraine due to growing threats of Russian military action and Covid-19. Be cautious in Ukraine due to crime and riots. Some areas are at higher risk.”
The decision takes place amid escalating tensions over the Kremlin’s decision to amass tens of thousands of troops on the Ukrainian border, surrounding the country on three different flanks.
Talks between US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday yielded no results.
A State Department spokesman insisted last night that the Kiev embassy will remain open and that the communication to the families of its employees is not a formal evacuation. The decision had been under consideration for some time and, according to the same sources, does not imply a decrease in the White House’s support for Ukraine and its democratically elected government.
The State Department explained in a statement: “Security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russian-occupied Crimea, and in Russian-controlled eastern Ukraine, are volatile and They may deteriorate without notice. Demonstrations are taking place in Ukraine, which have sometimes turned violent, including in Kiev.”