WASHINGTON, Jan 24 (KUNA) -- The US Department of State ordered Sunday evening the departure of "eligible family members" from the US Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine "due to the continued threat of Russian military action."
"On January 23, 2022, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of US direct hire employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members from Embassy in Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action," the Department of State said in a travel advisory.
It added "US citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options."
"There are reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine," it noted. "The security conditions, particularly along Ukraineآ’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice."
In this regard, a senior State Department official told reporters during a phone briefing "as President (Joe) Biden has said, military action by Russia could come at any time" if Russia chooses further escalation, then the security conditions, particularly along Ukraineآ’s borders in Russia-occupied Crimea, in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are predictable and can deteriorate with little notice."
"So we are taking this action now because of Russiaآ’s aggressive actions towards Ukraine," the official affirmed.
The official stressed "it is the totality of the situation that weآ’ve been watching and the decision that is based on this military buildup, based on how we see these developments, we felt this was the right moment to take this step with regard to the embassy in Kyiv and to give the same message to American citizens in Ukraine."
Furthermore, the Department of State reissued the "Level Four: Do Not Travel" travel advisory for Ukraine to include "do not travel to Ukraine due to the increased threats of Russian military action and COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Ukraine due to crime and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk."
The Department of State also reissued the Travel Advisory for Russia to include "do not travel to Russia due to ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine." (end)