U.S. Embassy Warns Americans in Russia to Consider Leaving 'Immediately' amid Ukraine Invasion

An outside view of the Consular Section at the US embassy in Bolshoi Devyatinsky Pereulok Street in central Moscow.
An outside view of the Consular Section at the US embassy in Bolshoi Devyatinsky Pereulok Street in central Moscow.

Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty

The U.S. Embassy in Russia has warned Americans to consider leaving the country promptly amid the Ukraine invasion.

On Sunday, the embassy issued a security alert on its website to inform U.S. nationals of the limited number flights arriving to and departing from Russia.

"An increasing number of airlines are canceling flights into and out of Russia, and numerous countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines," the embassy said in the advisory. "U.S. citizens should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available."

"The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that the Department of State's Travel Advisory level for Russia is at 'Level 4: Do Not Travel,'" the statement added.

An outside view of the Consular Section at the US embassy in Bolshoi Devyatinsky Pereulok Street in central Moscow.
An outside view of the Consular Section at the US embassy in Bolshoi Devyatinsky Pereulok Street in central Moscow.

Vladimir GerdoTASS via Getty

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Further explanation on the level 4 travel advisory stated, "Do not travel to Russia due to ongoing tension along the border with Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens, the embassy's limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, harassment by Russian government security officials and the arbitrary enforcement of local law."

The embassy also provided suggestions for U.S. nationals based in Russia amid the ongoing crisis, including staying alert in locations frequented by tourists and Westerners, notifying friends and family of your safety and carrying proper identification.

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Russia began its invasion of Ukraine earlier this week, according to the Ukraine government. The attack is still evolving, but explosions and airstrikes have been reported, with threats mounting against the capital, Kyiv, a city of 2.8 million people.

The invasion has resulted in the deaths of a number of citizens, with at least 150,000 Ukrainians fleeing the country for safety, according to the Associated Press.

On Sunday, the outlet also reported President Vladimir Putin put his nuclear forces on increased alert as tensions continued to escalate with the United States and Europe over the conflict.

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Earlier this week, President Joe Biden said he stands in solidarity with the people of Ukraine during a speech condemning Putin's actions.

"The prayers of the entire world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces," he said.

The Russian attack on Ukraine is an evolving story, with information changing quickly. Follow PEOPLE's complete coverage of the war here, including stories from citizens on the ground and ways to help.