As the United States predicts a future Russian invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. State Department has ordered that all non-emergency personnel leave the American embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Tensions have been building between Russia and Ukraine as Moscow amassed more than 100,000 troops on the border of the two countries.
“Today, the [State Department] ordered non-emergency U.S. employees at the Embassy to depart due to continued reports of a Russian military build-up on the border with Ukraine, indicating potential for significant military action,” the embassy wrote on Twitter early Saturday morning.
Diplomatic sources have indicated that embassy evacuations started overnight, but not all staff members will be leaving the country. Instead, some will be headed to Lviv, a city near the Polish border, to administer some services for Americans who might need them.
As of Sunday, all consular services at the Kyiv embassy are suspended. “U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine, and those in Ukraine should depart immediately using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” warned a travel advisory for the country that was issued on Saturday.
The White House is letting Americans know that they have less than 24-48 hours to evacuate the country. “If you stay, you are assuming risk, with no guarantee that there will be any other opportunity to leave…[with] no prospect of a U.S. military evacuation,” cautioned Jake Sullivan, national security adviser.
Sullivan emphasized warnings on Friday that the State Department had been issuing for several weeks, but the recent message telling Americans to leave Ukraine came with a revised urgency.
“We obviously cannot predict the future,” Sullivan said. “We don’t know exactly what is going to happen. But the risk is now high enough and the threat is now immediate enough that this is what prudence demands.”
U.S. officials report that Russia has 80 percent of the forces it would need to launch an invasion, and the rest of the forces needed are on the way. In response, the U.S. is sending additional forces to boost the American military presence in Eastern Europe.
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DAILY WIRE