US Calls on Relatives of Diplomats in Belarus to Leave
The US State Department has urged relatives of US diplomats in Belarus to leave the country. The ministry also warns people not to travel to Belarus. The reason is the increasing tension between the United States and Russia over Ukraine.
“As a result of an increase in Russia’s unusual and worrying military activity near its border with Ukraine, US citizens in or Americans considering travelling to Belarus should realize that the situation is unpredictable and that tensions in the region have increased,” he said the ministry said in a statement.
The relatives of embassy staff in Ukraine were previously called upon to leave the country. The United Kingdom has also recalled some of the embassy staff and their relatives from Kyiv.
The US is anticipating a Russian invasion of Ukraine. President Vladimir Putin has gathered a large force near the Ukrainian border. The Kremlin wants NATO to withdraw from Eastern Europe and guarantees that Ukraine will not join the Western alliance.
The US also accused Russia on Monday of building troops in neighbouring Belarus. According to US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, Russia wants to reinforce the approximately 5,000 military personnel currently stationed there with another 25,000 men. The troops are said to be less than two hours away from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his American counterpart Antony Blinken will hold talks by telephone on Tuesday about the increasing tensions over Ukraine and NATO.