Leave Ukraine. That is the urgent recommendation being made by many countries to their citizens who are still residing in the country at the moment. However, the atmosphere of panic that the warnings have been creating does not seem in line with the situation in the city of Kyiv.
With news of the imminent invasion of Ukraine by Russia, authorities of the following countries have called on their nationals to leave Ukraine: the United States of America, Germany, Italy, Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Canada, Norway, Estonia, Estonia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Slovenia, Australia, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.
On the other hand, France did not issue any similar advice to leave Ukraine for its nationals. However, the country strongly recommended the postponement of any non-essential or non-urgent travel to the border areas in the north and east of Ukraine. This statement was released towards the end of last month. At that time, news of the increased presence of the Russian military on the border between Russia and Ukraine had already been going around.
130,000 Russian Troops Have Been Spotted Near the Borders of Ukraine, as of the Latest
Through the use of satellite images, there were 100,000 Russian troops seen on the northern, eastern, and southern borders of Ukraine in the latter days of December last year. This is a concern for many Western nations, such as the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Some speculate that the presence of military forces may have been done as part of Russia’s plan to invade the country. By invading Ukraine, Russia can supposedly withhold the country from joining the NATO Western security alliance.
Maxar Technologies, a space technology company based in the USA, said that “over the past month, our high-resolution satellite imagery has observed a number of new Russian deployments in Crimea as well as in several training areas in western Russia along the periphery of the Ukraine border.”
However, there are more Russian military forces seen on the borders now. Their size has grown to 130,000, based on reports from the USA.
Despite this, the situation is claimed to be within control. Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine, had an hour-long conversation with Joe Biden, the president of the USA. He said that Ukraine is under “safe and reliable protection” should Russia pursue the speculated invasion that all countries are afraid of happening. The aforementioned presidents have agreed that diplomacy remains the best solution to prevent a possible attack on Ukraine.
In light of this circumstance, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has decided to halt all outgoing flights to Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, for the foreseeable future. Similarly, SkyUp Airlines decided not to land at its final destination in Kiev last Sunday. Flights from Madeira, Portugal were brought to Chișinău, the capital of Moldova, instead.
Ukraerorukh, the air traffic safety agency of Ukraine, also declared that the airspace located over the Black Sea is a “zone of potential danger.” Airplanes are highly encouraged not to pass by this area this week, from February 14 to 19.
Foreign Citizens in Ukraine are Asked to Leave Ukraine by their Government
The majority of the staff at the US embassy located in Kyiv were evacuated. Only a few members remain in the country for the continued consular presence. All other American citizens are told to do the same.
Canada and Australia have also chosen to close their respective embassies in Kyiv for the meantime. Diplomatic operations will not cease despite the closure of their embassies. Rather, any service required from the embassy can be obtained in their temporary office located in Lviv, which is located in western Ukraine.
A statement given by the Honorable Melanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs in Ottawa, says that “Canada’s diplomatic presence and strong engagement in Ukraine will continue. Services for Canadian citizens will also continue to be offered from the temporary office, by appointment only. However, our ability to provide consular assistance could become increasingly limited.”
Melinda Simmons, the ambassador of the UK to Ukraine, has chosen to stay in Kyiv. She is accompanied by a core group of staff members so that they can respond to any emergency that may arise. The rest of the staff members have been evacuated.
The institutions of the European Bodies have also advised non-essential staff in their embassies in Kyiv to leave Ukraine as soon as possible. Staff can perform their work responsibilities remotely from another safe location.
Romania has also evacuated non-essential staff from its embassy in Kyiv. Similarly, Israel has successfully moved its embassy staff members and their families out of the city.
With this, many countries have strongly recommended their nationals to leave Ukraine immediately. Any delay in doing so could make it more difficult for them in the near future, especially amidst speculations about the closure of Ukrainian airspace.
An official from the USA said that “it isn’t just time to leave Ukraine, it is past time to leave Ukraine.”
Strong Evidence is Needed to Ascertain Russian’s Plan on Invasion
President Zelensky said that “I think there is too much information in the media about a deep, full-scale war. We understand all the risks, we understand that they exist. If you or someone else has additional 100% reliable information about the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine… please share it with us.”
He encourages people to remain calm and united despite the fear and panic that accompany the warnings to leave Ukraine. Individuals should not promote any action that could jeopardize the country’s stability and cause even more panic than is already present.
Despite the presence of military troops on the borders of Ukraine, Russia denies any intention of invading Ukraine.