- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 23, 2022

Americans in Ukraine will be on their own if Russia invades so the U.S. government is advising them to take the earliest commercial flight possible out of the country.

On Sunday, State Department officials said they didn’t know if Russian President Vladimir Putin has made the decision to send tanks across the border but insisted such a move could come “at any time.”

“The U.S. government will not be in a position to evacuate American citizens in such a contingency,” a senior State Department official told reporters in a briefing. “Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine will severely impact the U.S. embassy’s ability to provide consular assistance.”



The State Department ordered family members of U.S. government employees to leave the country and authorized — but has not ordered — non-critical staffers to join them.

The U.S. government already posted a “do not travel” advisory to Ukraine because of the COVID-19 pandemic but concern about a possible Russian invasion prompted the additional warning.

“These decisions were made out of an abundance of caution,” a State Department official said. “We have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens.”


SEE ALSO: West slams reports of Russian plan for puppet government in Ukraine


Although repeatedly pressed by reporters in Sunday’s briefing, State Department officials wouldn’t say how many U.S. citizens are believed to be in Ukraine.

“It’s a number we are not able to share because we don’t have a solid number (and) it’s not ‘helpful’ to share estimated numbers,” an official said.

U.S. officials wouldn’t comment on British reports that Russia is planning to invade and replace Ukraine’s government in Kyiv with one that could be controlled by Moscow.

“We’re very concerned about attempts to destabilize (Ukraine) internally,” the State Department official said. “We have been concerned and have been warning about those kinds of tactics for weeks. That is very much part of the Russian playbook.”

• Mike Glenn can be reached at mglenn@washingtontimes.com.

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