In SummaryThe White House has ordered the family members of U.S. Embassy staff in Ukraine to leave quickly amid rising fears of a potential invasion by Russia.
A threat of military invasion by Russia has prompted State Department officials to order family members of U.S. embassy staff in Kyiv, Ukraine, as well as some diplomats, to evacuate the country.
The New York Times reported the State Department also highlighted COVID-19 and the likelihood of the invasion as a reason for retaining its travel risk advisory at the highest level, advising Americans not to travel to Ukraine.
According to the Level 4 advisory, U.S. citizens in Ukraine should be aware that Russian military intervention will have a significant impact on the Embassy’s capacity to offer consular services, including aid to individuals leaving Ukraine.
“There are reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine,” per the alert. “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. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv.”
A similar alert was published by the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, urging Americans to avoid public demonstrations and consider leaving, as Russia has reportedly stationed more than 100,000 troops near the border of the neighboring country.
The confrontation between the two countries has been simmering since Russian soldiers entered Ukrainian land in 2014, annexing Crimea and inciting an insurgency in the east, according to the Times.
A cease-fire was negotiated in 2015 but in late October, Ukraine used an armed drone to bomb a Russian-backed rebel cannon—a move seen as a destabilizing act that violated the deal and sparked worries of an attack.
The White House has been warning Ukraine of the “imminent threat” being posed by Russia, with President Joe Biden vowing that the U.S. will defend Ukraine’s democracy.
“If a single additional Russian force goes into Ukraine in an aggressive way… that will trigger a swift, a severe and a united response from us and from Europe,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
In an appearance on Start Your Day, DC correspondent Bofta Yimam said a major crisis is unfolding, adding that Britain is also withdrawing diplomats from Ukraine.