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State Department reduces staff at US embassy in Ukraine, orders some family members to leave

Orignally published on 2022-01-23 23:40:44 by www.cnn.com

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

CNN reported on Friday that the embassy had requested that the State Department take this step as Russia has continued to mass forces and equipment near Ukraine’s borders, sparking fears of a renewed invasion.

The Ukrainian Defense Ministry’s latest intelligence assessment, shared with CNN this week, assessed that Russia has now deployed more than 127,000 troops in the region. White House press secretary Jen Psaki said last week that Russia was in a position to launch an invasion “at any point.”

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

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

The UK foreign office said in a statement on Saturday that it has information the Russian government is planning to “install a pro-Russian leader in Kyiv as it considers whether to invade and occupy Ukraine.”

This story has been updated with additional information.

Orignally published on 2022-01-23 23:40:44 by www.cnn.com

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