No removal for now of US citizens in Ukraine, says State Department

Government has not confirmed reports that families of US diplomats posted in Kiev were ordered to begin leaving on Monday

A Ukrainian soldier patrols a street near a frontline with Russia-backed separatists in Yasynuvata district, Donetsk region, eastern Ukraine. AP

The US government is not “at this time” organising the removal of American citizens from Ukraine despite rising fears of unspecified military action by Russia, a State Department spokesperson said on Saturday.

In the event matters deteriorate, however, “American citizens should not anticipate that there will be US government-sponsored evacuations,” the spokesperson said, speaking on grounds of anonymity.

“Currently, commercial flights are available to support departures.”

The State Department had already advised US citizens not to travel to Ukraine due to concerns about Covid-19. A department website also urges them “to reconsider travel due to increased threats from Russia.”

The spokesperson did not confirm media reports that families of American diplomats posted in Kiev had been ordered to begin evacuating on Monday.

In that regard, the spokesperson said, “We have nothing to announce at this time.”

Western officials say Russia has stationed as many as 100,000 soldiers near the border with Ukraine. The White House has said Moscow could launch an offensive against the former Soviet republic “at any point.”

The Kremlin denies having any hostile intentions but has said any de-escalation near the Ukraine border will depend on guarantees of no further Nato enlargement — particularly involving Ukraine — and on a reduction of the allied presence in Eastern Europe.

Updated: January 23, 2022, 3:36 AM