U.S. orders evacuation of embassy staff families in Ukraine

Antony Blinken

Antony Blinken: US Secretary of State

The U.S. State Department will begin evacuating families and non-essential staff from the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine this week as a possible Russian invasion looms.

According to a travel advisory released Sunday evening, the U.S. move underscores its fears that a Russian invasion could destabilise Ukraine and threaten embassy’s ability to assist Americans.

Russia continues to amass forces on all sides of the Ukrainian border, including with significant new deployments to Belarus and additional military aid to Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine.

The State Department said it was authorising 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.”

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“U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” it added.

The British government on Sunday accused Russia of hatching a plot to overthrow the Ukrainian government in Kyiv and install a pro-Russian puppet regime.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken met on Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva, where he agreed to provide written answers to Russia’s demands for a freeze on NATO expansion.

Blinken said Lavrov once again assured him Russia has no intention of attacking Ukraine, but added: “We’re looking at what is visible to all, and it is deeds and actions, not words, that make the difference.”

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