Australia helps families of Ukraine embassy staff leave Kiev

Government urges citizens to leave Ukrainian capital due to 'risk of armed conflict'

The Australian government has "directed the departure" of dependants of its embassy staff from Kiev and urged its citizens to leave Ukraine amid fears in some Western capitals that Russian troops massed on the Ukrainian border could be set to invade.

"We now advise you do not travel to Ukraine, due to the risk of armed conflict," said the Australian government's travel advice and consular information service.

"If you're in Ukraine, you should leave now by commercial means if it's safe to do so. Flight availability could change or be suspended at short notice. Contact airlines or transport providers directly."

Although there are an estimated 100,000 Russian troops at the border with Ukraine, Moscow insists it has no plans to invade.

The Australian government said "security conditions can change at short notice".

"Consular services and our ability to provide consular assistance to Australians may be limited due to local circumstances," it said.

The US and UK governments have already announced that some embassy staff and their family members will be withdrawn from Kiev because of the security threat.

However, on Monday, the EU's foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said the bloc did not plan to follow the US and UK example for now.

Updated: January 24, 2022, 12:46 PM