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Ukraine: Washington Asks Families Of American Diplomats To Leave Kiev

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The growing tension in Ukraine, a country threatened by a Russian invasion, prompted the U.S. State Department on Sunday to order the families of its diplomats in Kiev to leave the country. Washington also advises its citizens not to travel to Russia because of “the possibility of harassment”.

The State Department has also given permission for non-essential staff to leave and urged US citizens in Ukraine to consider departing. In a statement, it said there were reports that Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine.

Russia has denied claims that it is planning to invade Ukraine.

“U.S. citizens in Ukraine should be aware that a Russian military operation anywhere in Ukraine would severely affect the ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide consular services, including assistance to U.S. citizens leaving Ukraine,” the U.S. diplomacy warns. The department calls on the American community in Ukraine to find out “what the U.S. government can and cannot do to assist you during a crisis abroad.”

The State Department also warned people not to travel to Ukraine and Russia due to the ongoing tension and “potential for harassment against US citizens”.

“There are reports Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine,” an advisory from the State Department said.

A State Department official stated that the embassy remains open but repeated warnings from the White House that an invasion could come at “any time”.

They said that the government “will not be in a position to evacuate US citizens in such a contingency”.

The move by the US is part of a series of precautions the State Department employs when crises could put American diplomats in harm’s way, the BBC’s Barbara Plett Usher reports.

It is thought that nothing specific over the past 24 hours triggered the decision.

The head of the military defence alliance Nato has warned there is a risk of fresh conflict in Europe after an estimated 100,000 Russian troops amassed on the border.

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