The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, has requested that the State Department authorize the departure of all nonessential staff and their families, multiple sources told CNN.
A source close to the Ukrainian government told the network that the U.S. has informed Ukraine that it is “likely to start [the] evacuations as early as next week.”
The State Department issued the highest-level travel advisory for Ukraine on Dec. 20, telling Americans “not to travel” due to a surge in COVID-19 and “increased threats from Russia.”
A spokesperson for the State Department said they had “nothing to announce at this time.”
“If there is a decision to change our posture with respect to American diplomats and their families, American citizens should not anticipate that there will be U.S. government-sponsored evacuations,” the spokesperson said. “Currently, commercial flights are available to support departures.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki reiterated on Tuesday the Biden administration’s cautious position on the possibility of a Russian advancement on Ukraine.
“Let’s be clear. Our view is this is an extremely dangerous situation. We’re now at a stage where Russia could at any point launch an attack in Ukraine,” Psaki said. “And what Secretary Blinken is going to go do is highlight very clearly there’s a diplomatic path forward. It is the choice of President Putin and the Russians to make whether they’re going to suffer severe economic consequences or not.”
A senior Biden administration official said that Russia had increased force levels since Friday on the Ukrainian border, according to CNN.
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