|A view shows the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine October 1, 2020. (File photo by=REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)|
[Asia News = Reporter Reakkana] WASHINGTON: The US State Department announced Sunday (Jan 23) it was ordering diplomats' family members to leave Ukraine, as US President Joe Biden weighed options for boosting America's military assets in Eastern Europe to counter a buildup of Russian troops, Reuters reported.
The order, which also allowed US diplomats stationed at the embassy in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv to leave voluntarily, was one of the clearest signs yet that American officials are bracing for an aggressive Russian move in the region. "Military action by Russia could come at any time," the US Embassy said in a statement. Officials "will not be in a position to evacuate American citizens in such a contingency, so US citizens currently present in Ukraine should plan accordingly", it added. The Ukrainian foreign ministry said in a statement that it considered the move as "premature and a manifestation of excessive caution".
Tensions in Ukraine have been increasing for months after the Kremlin massed some 100,000 troops near Ukraine's borders, a dramatic buildup the West says is preparation for a war to prevent Ukraine from ever joining the NATO Western security alliance. The State Department's announcement comes a day after British authorities said they had information the Russian government was considering a former Ukrainian lawmaker as a potential candidate to head a pro-Russian leadership in Kyiv.