Australia evacuates embassy in Ukrainian capital – News

Australian Department of Foreign Affairs advises citizens to leave Ukraine immediately by commercial means



Ukrainian activists attend a rally in central Kyiv. —AP

By agencies

Published: Sun 13 Feb 2022, 03:01

Australia has temporarily suspended operations at its embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, and evacuated staff, following the deterioration of the security situation caused by the buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, the Department for Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday. foreign.

“We will transfer our operations to a temporary office in Lviv,” the ministry said in a statement. “We continue to advise Australians to leave Ukraine immediately through commercial means.”

Lviv is a city in western Ukraine, about 70 kilometers from the border with Poland.

Earlier, Britain and the United States withdrew most of their remaining military advisers while the US Embassy ordered “most” of its Kyiv staff to leave.

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Dutch airline KLM has announced that it is suspending commercial flights to Ukraine until further notice.

The prospect of Westerners fleeing has prompted Kiev to appeal to its citizens to “stay calm”.

“Right now the greatest enemy of the people is panic,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said during a visit to troops stationed near the Russian-annexed Crimean peninsula.

Several thousand Ukrainians braved the winter chill to drive through Kiev in a show of unity amid growing fears of war.

“Panic is unnecessary,” student Maria Shcherbenko said as the crowd waved Ukraine’s blue and yellow flags and sang the national anthem. “We must unite and fight for independence.”

Washington issued its most dire warning to date on Friday, saying Russia had mustered enough forces to launch a serious assault.

“Our view that military action could take place any day now, and could take place before the end of the Olympics, is only growing in terms of robustness,” warned the US adviser to the national security, Jake Sullivan.

Christi C. Elwood