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Australia evacuates embassy in Ukraine capital

Australian foreign ministry advises citizens to leave Ukraine immediately by commercial means

Ukrainian activists attend a rally in central Kyiv. — AP
Ukrainian activists attend a rally in central Kyiv. — AP

By Agencies

Published: Sun 13 Feb 2022, 3:01 AM

Australia temporarily suspended operations at its embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, and evacuated staff, following the deteriorating security situation caused by the buildup of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, the foreign ministry said on Sunday.

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

Lviv is a city in western Ukraine, around 70 kilometres from the border with Poland.

Earlier, Britain and the United States pulled out most of their remaining military advisors while the US embassy ordered “most” of its Kyiv staff to leave.


Dutch carrier KLM announced that it was suspending commercial flights to Ukraine until further notice.

The prospect of fleeing Westerners prompted Kyiv to issue an appeal to its citizens to “remain calm”.

“Right now, the people’s biggest enemy is panic,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on a visit to troops stationed near the Russian-annexed peninsula of Crimea.

Several thousand Ukrainians braved the winter cold to march through Kyiv in a show of unity amid the growing fears of war.

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

Washington on Friday issued its most dire warning yet that Russia had assembled enough forces to launch a serious assault.

“Our view that military action could occur any day now, and could occur before the end of the Olympics, is only growing in terms of its robustness,” US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned.

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