Some U.S. representatives to Ukraine evacuated amid escalating military tension with Russia on Jan. 23.
The State Department confirmed it ordered non-essential American Embassy employees and their family members to leave the Eastern European nation due to a potential Russian invasion. All Americans in Ukraine are urged to evaluate whether they should evacuate too.
“The Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct hire employees, and ordered the departure of eligible family members from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action,” the department said on its website.
“U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” it added.
U.S. intelligence recently discovered Russia might be planning “significant military action” against its neighbor country.
“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 department said. “Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine including in Kyiv.”
No specific targets have been identified, and authorities suggest an attack could happen “anywhere.”
“Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine would severely impact the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including assistance to U.S. citizens in departing Ukraine,” the department said.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov recently tried to reach a mutual understanding in Geneva, Switzerland.
Although Russia continues to have a strong border presence, no soldiers had entered Ukraine at the time of publication.
For now, the U.S. Embassy will remain open in Kyiv. However, the State Department urged every American to temporarily avoid traveling to Ukraine.
“Do not travel to Ukraine due to the increased threats of Russian military action and COVID-19,” the department said. “Exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk.”
U.S. citizens staying in Ukraine are invited to register their details with the embassy to receive essential updates.
“Complete an online form so that we may better communicate with you. This is especially important if you plan to remain in Ukraine,” the department website said.