German Foreign Ministry urges all citizens to leave Ukraine

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The German Foreign Ministry on Saturday stepped up its travel and security warning for Ukraine, urging all of its nationals to leave the country due to the risk of a possible military confrontation. 

The ministry had already asked German citizens to leave Ukraine, but the latest warning is more urgent.

What is the ministry saying?

“German nationals are urgently requested to leave the country now,” the ministry’s website now says.

“A military confrontation is possible at any time.”

“Travel out of the country in a timely manner,” said the advice. “If there is a Russian attack on Ukraine, the options for assisting German nationals are very limited.”

Earlier in the week, the ministry said most staff members have left the German embassy in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.

Family members and seconded employees not urgently needed for business operations had mostly left the country, the ministry said.

Mounting concern widens

Germany’s national carrier Lufthansa on Saturday said it was stopping all flights to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, and the coastal city of Odessa as of Monday. The flights will be suspended “for the time being until the end of February,” the company announced. 

France on Saturday also recommended to all its citizens that they should leave Ukraine. For those in the most exposed areas “in the oblasts of Kharkiv, Luhansk and Donetsk,” as well as in the region of Dnipro, Paris advises them to move away “without delay.”

“It is recommended to all French citizens who are not in Ukraine for a compelling reason to leave the country,” said the French Foreign Ministry. 

In addition, the Austrian Foreign Ministry issued a similar warning for its citizens. 

Dire warnings and diplomatic activity

The more urgent warning comes after intensified fighting in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, where Russia-backed separatists in 2014 declared “people’s republics.”

It follows unusually pessimistic US warnings that Moscow could order an invasion of Ukraine any day. NATO leaders have said they fear Russia is seeking a pretext to attack.

The past weeks have seen a flurry of diplomatic efforts as world leaders sought to avert a war in Europe amid soaring East-West tensions.

Infografik Karte Stationierung russischer Truppenn nahe Ukraine EN

Some 150,000 troops Russian troops have amassed around Ukraine’s borders — in the Russian border region, Belarus and the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea annexed by Russia. Russia said the troops were there for maneuvers and that it had no intention of invading.

rc/wd (Reuters, AFP)

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