The State Department has ordered that family members of employees working in the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, to leave the country due to the mounting potential of a Russian military invasion.
The UK has also begun to withdraw its embassy staff from the British embassy in Kyiv. Officials said there were no specific threats being made against British diplomats, and that it is a precautionary move.
The US said it believes an invasion could come at any time.
Russia has continuously denied plans for a military invasion into Ukraine. But with nearly 100,000 troops massed at the border, Western countries are fearing that a military escalation is possible soon.
The EU embassy said that its employees will remain in place for now as not to “dramatize” the tensions.
If Russia were to invade Ukraine, the military action would severely impact embassies’ abilities to provide consular services. This would include making it much more difficult to assist U.S. citizens departing the country, which is why the State Department is urging those who can leave to do so on commercial flights while they are available.
Concern has grown recently because Russian forces have entered Belarus in order to conduct joint military exercises.
Last month, the United States authorized an additional $200 million in defensive aid for Ukraine. The first shipment contained legal aid for the country’s defensive forces, and arrived in the capital over the weekend.
On Sunday, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that there would be “massive consequences” if Russia were to invade Ukraine.
Last week, President Joe Biden said it was his “guess” that Russia would pursue a military intervention into Ukraine.
Putin and his government have denied that there are any plans to invade, but it also left unspecified “military action” on the table if they did not receive the security demands made during diplomatic talks over the past two weeks.