State Department cuts staff at US Embassy in Ukraine, directs some family members to leave

“On January 23, 2022, the State Department authorized the voluntary departure of directly hired US employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members of the Embassy Kyiv amid the continued threat of Russian military action. U.S. citizens in Ukraine should consider exiting now using commercial or other privately available transportation options,” the State Department said in a statement.

CNN reported on Friday that the embassy had urged the State Department to take the step as Russia continues to mass troops and equipment near the Ukrainian border, sparking fears of a renewed invasion.

The latest intelligence assessment by Ukraine’s defense ministry, shared with CNN this week, found that Russia has now deployed more than 127,000 troops in the region. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that Russia is capable of launching an invasion “at any time.”

The State Department has already issued the highest travel advisory for Ukraine, urging Americans not to travel to the country and to be aware of reports that Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine.

US officials still don’t know what Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans are, or if he even decided to invade. But some officials who saw the intelligence say there is evidence Russia is planning to try to take Kiev and overthrow the government, CNN previously reported.

This was announced by the British Foreign Office on Saturday it has information The Russian government plans to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kiev while it considers invading and occupying Ukraine”.

This story has been updated with additional information.

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