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The State Department urged Americans and diplomats to leave Ukraine, and US citizens are advised not to go to Russia

On January 24, the U.S. Department of State granted permission for the voluntary departure (“authorized departure”) of U.S. government employees and ordered the departure of family members (“mandatory departure”) of U.S. government employees from the embassy in Kiev, reports Государственный департамент США .

Photo: Shutterstock

Authorized departure gives these workers the option to leave if they wish; their departure is not required. Compulsory departure for family members requires families to leave the country.

The State Department officially urged American diplomats to leave Kiev

The status of the departure order from the US Embassy will be reviewed no later than 30 days.

The State Department has taken the decision to allow departure from the diplomatic mission in Ukraine as a special warning due to Russia's constant attempts to destabilize the situation in the country and undermine the security of Ukrainian citizens and others visiting or living in Ukraine.

Officials have consulted with the Ukrainian government on this move and are coordinating with the embassies of the Alliance and partner countries in Kiev, and they determine their position.

State The US Department said it continues to support the Ukrainian people and is taking this step because one of the State Department's highest priorities is the safety of American diplomats and the American people. The United States emphasizes that the US Embassy in Kiev remains open for regular business. The Department emphasizes that the decision on the authorized/mandatory departure will not affect its commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to Russia's deeply troubling military buildup in Ukraine.

On the subject: US State Department removes families of embassy employees in Kiev from Ukraine

U.S. unwavering support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is stronger than ever, as demonstrated by the January 22 delivery of the first of several $200 million in aid to the Ukrainian Armed Forces approved by President Biden.

Officials emphasize that it depends on Russia which way events will develop. The United States constantly talks about the two paths Russia can take: dialogue and diplomacy, or escalation and massive consequences. While the United States continues to follow the path of dialogue and diplomacy should Russia choose to escalate and massive consequences due to significant military action against Ukraine, the current unpredictable security situation, in particular along Ukraine’s borders, in Russian-occupied Crimea, and in Russian-controlled Eastern Ukraine, may deteriorate without notice.

As President Biden said, Russian military action could begin at any moment, and the United States government would not be able to evacuate American citizens in such an unpredictable situation. Therefore, US citizens now in Ukraine should plan accordingly, including relying on their own strength, commercial options if they decide to leave the country.

The Department of State strongly encourages US citizens when they travel overseas to register their travel plans on step.state.gov through the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and read country information on travel.state.gov., and follow on Twitter (@TravelGov) and Facebook (@TravelGov) for more updates.

The US Embassy in Kiev is ready for a sudden increase in demand for consular services. In the past few months, the embassy has prioritized the processing of US passports and immigrant visas, including adoption cases.

The Department is constantly working with other governments and international partners to facilitate the safe travel of US citizens in the event of a crisis, and continues to work with their offices in the region in addition to US emergency personnel.

The State Department's Foreign Security Advisory Council - OSAC - continues to be in touch and provide security information to US private sector representatives who work or travel in Ukraine. This support is provided by the Program Office in Washington, DC, regardless of the state of vigilance entered at the US Embassy.

The UK has begun expelling employees of its embassy in Kiev due to the threat of a Russian military invasion of Ukraine, reports the BBC.

London notes that there is no direct threat to British diplomats, however, it was decided to withdraw about half of the staff.

“Some of our employees and their families are being withdrawn from Kiev in light of the growing threat from Russia. The British Embassy will remain open and continue to carry out its core functions,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

The Australian government has issued an evacuation order for family members of diplomats.

Ukraine was assigned to the 4th level of threat and they urge Americans to leave the country as quickly as possible

State Department updated the fourth alert level in its official Ukraine travel advisory: "Do not travel due to increased threats of significant Russian military action against Ukraine."

US citizens in Ukraine should be aware that Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine will seriously impact the ability of the US Embassy to provide consular services, including assistance to US citizens when leaving Ukraine.
The Department is asking all US citizens in Ukraine to complete an online form to facilitate communication - this is especially important if you plan to stay in Ukraine.

Crimea

Russia occupies and attempted to annex the Ukrainian Crimean peninsula, and there is an extensive military presence of the Russian Federation in Crimea. The occupying authorities continue to abuse and arbitrarily imprison foreigners and the local population, especially those who are considered to be opposed to the Russian occupation of the peninsula. The US government prohibits its employees from traveling to Crimea and cannot provide emergency services to US citizens in Crimea.

Donetsk and Lugansk

Russian-led forces control parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where more than 14 people have died as a result of the ongoing armed conflict. People, including US citizens, have been threatened, detained or abducted for hours or days after being stopped at checkpoints controlled by Russian-led forces.

The US government is restricting the travel of USDH employees to the eastern regions of Donetsk and Luhansk regions and adjacent regions, which limits the ability to provide emergency assistance to US citizens in these regions.

“Crimes against foreigners and property are common. There were also politically targeted killings and bombings. There are reports of violent attacks by radical groups on minorities and police,” the US State Department said.

Covid

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Traveler Health Notice for Ukraine, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.

Safety measures

The Department asks Americans who are currently in Ukraine to follow the instructions and take all recommended measures:

  • develop a contingency plan that is independent of US government assistance;
  • follow the news in the local media and adjust your contingency plans based on new information;
  • ensure that travel documents are valid and easily accessible;
    avoid demonstrations and crowds.

Americans are asked not to go to Russia

The State Department urged Americans and diplomats to leave Ukraine, and US citizens are advised not to go to Russia.

State Department asks Americans not to enter Russia due to ongoing border tensions with Ukraine, possible harassment of US citizens, limited embassy capacity to assist US citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, harassment by Russian security forces and arbitrary application of local laws.

“Due to the heightened Russian military presence and ongoing military exercises near the border with Ukraine, US citizens who are in areas of the Russian Federation or planning to visit areas of the Russian Federation that directly border Ukraine should be aware that the situation on the border is unpredictable and there is heightened tension . Throughout Russia, there is the possibility of persecution of foreigners, including through regulations specifically directed against foreigners, ”the department’s website says.

The Department states that the US Government's ability to provide routine or emergency services to US citizens in Russia is already severely limited, especially in areas remote from the US Embassy in Moscow, due to Russian government restrictions on US staffing and the suspension of consular services at US consulates.

The department recommends not to travel to:
  • the North Caucasus, including Chechnya and Mount Elbrus, due to terrorism, kidnapping, and the risk of civil unrest;
  • Crimea due to the alleged Russian occupation of the territory of Ukraine and abuses by the occupying authorities.

The Department says Russian intelligence agencies have arrested US citizens on false charges, denied them fair and transparent treatment, and sentenced them in secret trials and/or without evidence.

“Russian officials may unreasonably delay US consular assistance to US citizens. Russian authorities arbitrarily enforce local laws against US citizens of religion and open dubious criminal investigations against US citizens engaged in religious activities. Russian intelligence agencies are increasingly arbitrarily enforcing local laws against foreign and international organizations they consider “undesirable,” and U.S. citizens should avoid traveling to Russia to work or volunteer with non-governmental organizations,” the department’s website says.

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Russia imposes specific restrictions on dual US and Russian citizens, the department warns, and may deny recognition of US citizenship to dual citizens, including denying access to US consular assistance and preventing them from leaving Russia.

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