The U.S. State Department has issued advisories for Ukraine and Crimea due to the increasing likelihood that Russia will invade Ukraine.
State authorized the voluntary departure of all U.S. direct hire employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members from the American Embassy in Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action.
“U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider departing now using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” the State Department advised.
There are reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine. The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine’s borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice. Demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout Ukraine, including in Kyiv,” State said.
“U.S. citizens in Ukraine should be aware that Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine would severely impact the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services, including assistance to U.S. citizens in departing Ukraine,” the agency said.
For those Alaskans with relatives in Ukraine, review what the U.S. government can and cannot do to assist you in a crisis overseas.The Department asks all U.S. citizens in Ukraine to complete an online form so that the agency may better communicate with them, especially if they intend to remain in Ukraine. The phone numbers dedicated for Ukraine-related calls are at this link.
The State Department also advised Americans to not travel to the Crimean peninsula, as there is extensive Russian military presence. The Russians are abusing and imprisoning foreigners and locals alike, especially those who are seen as opposing Russian occupiers. The U.S. government prohibits U.S. employees from traveling to Crimea and is unable to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Crimea.
Russia-led forces also control areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, where the ongoing armed conflict has resulted in more than 14,000 deaths.
Individuals, including U.S. citizens, have been threatened, detained, or kidnapped for hours or days after being stopped at checkpoints controlled by Russia-led forces. The U.S. government restricts USDH from traveling to the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts and adjacent regions, which limits the ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in these regions.
In Europe and Eastern Europe, Ukraine is second only in size to Russia, which it borders to the east and northeast. It was absorbed by the USSR after World War II and gained its independence in 1991. It has been the site of numerous bloody conflicts across many centuries.
Ukraine is deeply corrupt and is a center for human trafficking. Crimes targeting foreigners is common. Politically targeted assassinations and bombings have also occurred. There are reports of violent attacks on minority groups and police by radical groups, the State Department said.
On CNN on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned, “If a single additional Russian force goes into Ukraine in an aggressive way, as I said, that would trigger a swift, a severe and a united response from us and from Europe.”