Washington (IP) - US State Department will begin to evacuate families and nonessential staff from the US embassy in Kyiv this week, according to a travel advisory published Sunday evening.

Iran PressAmerica: The US State Department says dependants of staffers must leave the country amid growing tensions over Russia’s military buildup on the border. 

The move underscores US fears that a Russian invasion could destabilize Ukraine and threaten the embassy's ability to assist Americans.

"On January 23, 2022, the US Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of US direct hire employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action," the State Department said in a travel advisory.

Between the lines: Senior State Department officials told reporters on a briefing call that it was not a specific change in the security situation that led to Sunday's decision, but the "totality" of the Russian military buildup and threatening posture toward Ukraine over the last several months.

The officials declined to offer estimates of how many family members will be evacuated or how many Americans remain in Ukraine, citing a lack of accurate data.

"Given that the President has said military action by Russia could come at any time, the US government will not be in a position to evacuate U.S. citizens," one official stressed.

On Sunday, the US state department said: “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."

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Blinken said Lavrov once again assured him Russia has no intention of attacking Ukraine, but added: "We're looking at what is visible to all, and it is deeds and actions, not words, that make the difference."

The state department would not say how many Americans it believes are currently in Ukraine. US citizens are not required to register with embassies when they arrive or plan to stay abroad for extended periods.


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