The Russia-Ukraine dispute seems to escalate without any headway towards a diplomatic solution as each week passes by. Most recently, the US State Department has urged Americans in Belarus to leave the country immediately as troops from Russia gather around military exercises.
The US has been warning of a Russian attack on Ukraine for a while now, but recent sources claim an attack in the upcoming days has propelled the administration into issuing warnings and shutting the embassy. The administration issued orders to shut down its Kyiv embassy and relocate it to Lviv, in the western part of Ukraine bordering Poland.
“It isn’t just time to leave Ukraine. It is past time for private citizens to leave Ukraine,” said a State Department official last Saturday.
The warnings and decided to pull out or move people from the country by the US has not done too well with Ukraine, as the country contemplates its moves without having citizens panic over what is fact and what is made up. Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said to reporters, “Today in the information space, there is too much information about a deep, full-scale invasion from Russia. The best friend of our enemy is panic in our country, and all that information which helps create only panic doesn’t help us.”
Russia has denied any plans to invade or attack Ukraine multiple times, accusing the US and European allies of escalating the situation without a cause, despite increasing its military presence in the region. The Biden administration, however, continues to claim an attack is imminent for several weeks now.
“We fervently hope and continue to work intensively to try to ensure that Ukraine does not become a war zone,” the senior State Department official adds, believing that it “appears increasingly likely that this is where this situation is headed — toward some kind of active conflict.”
They further added that Ukraine “understands” America’s priorities even if they don’t agree, “The Ukrainians understand why we are taking these steps, even if all of them don’t necessarily agree … with our threat assessment and with our assessment of the extent to which potential conflict is imminent.”
The State Department warning has come to be even more urgent on Monday, releasing an entire travel advisory for American nationals in Belarus, especially within the unrecognized state of Transnistria, the region Russia is currently using to station its troops. “Do not Travel to Belarus due to the arbitrary enforcement of laws, the risk of detention, unusual and concerning Russian military buildup along Belarus’ border with Ukraine, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions. U.S. citizens in Belarus should depart immediately via commercial or private means,” the official advisory report states.