US urging citizens to leave Ukraine ahead of holiday

The United States Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Tuesday urged U.S. citizens to leave the country, citing intelligence that Russia is ramping up its aggression.

“The Department of State has information that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days … The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so,” the embassy wrote in an alert.

“The security situation throughout Ukraine is highly volatile and conditions may deteriorate without warning. U.S. citizens should remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness.”

Nearly six months into the Russia-Ukraine conflict, no end is in sight. Concerns of violence have been heightened ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned of potential Russian escalation ahead of the Aug. 24 celebration.

“We should be aware that this week Russia may try to do something particularly nasty, something particularly cruel,” Zelensky said in a recent address.

The concerns also come in the wake of reports that Russian commentator Daria Dugina, the daughter of a prominent nationalist philosopher, was killed outside Moscow over the weekend.

Russia has accused Ukraine of planting the car bomb that killed Dugina, though Ukraine has denied any involvement.

“Dear Ukrainians, especially these days, when we celebrate the day of our flag and the day of our independence, if you are somewhere abroad, please remind about Ukraine there, be there with the Ukrainian flag and spread the truth about the crimes of the occupiers,” Zelensky said Monday.

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