On Sunday, the State Department ordered the families of personnel at the US Embassy in Ukraine to leave the country amid heightened tensions in the region with Russia.
The US also said all non-essential personnel at the embassy could leave Ukraine if they wanted to, and the government would cover the expenses. “These are prudent precautions that in no way undermine our support for, our commitment to Ukraine,” a senior State Department official said.
The official said the order was made “based on this military buildup, based on how we see these developments.” The US is still accusing Russia of plotting to invade Ukraine, an allegation Moscow denies.
The State Department also issued a fresh “do not travel” advisory for Ukraine. “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 advisory says.
The US has been engaged in dialogue with Russia over Ukraine, and Washington is expected to give Moscow a written response to security proposals made by Russian President Vladimir Putin. But in the meantime, the US seems keen on escalating tensions by sending weapons to Ukraine, and President Biden is reportedly considering sending thousands of troops to Eastern Europe.