France urges citizens to leave Ukraine 'without delay': Ministry

People outside a metro station in Kyiv on Feb 23, 2022. PHOTO: NYTIMES

PARIS (AFP) - France on Wednesday (Feb 23) became the latest Western nation to call on its citizens to leave Ukraine "without delay", amid mounting concerns that Russia is preparing a full-scale attack.

In the context of "serious tensions" caused by the concentration of Russian troops on Ukraine's borders as well as Russia's recognition of two separatist regions and Ukraine's imposition of a state of emergency, "French citizens finding themselves in Ukraine should leave the country without delay", France's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Tens of thousands of Russian troops are stationed near Ukraine's borders, with the West saying that they could be used for an attack at any moment.

Rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine have asked Moscow for military help against Kyiv in a move that opens the door for the massed Russian troops to move in.

The United States and Britain say Russia's force is poised to strike Ukraine and trigger the most serious war in Europe for decades, but Russian President Vladimir Putin says he is open to negotiation - within limits.

Western capitals say Russia has amassed 150,000 troops in combat formations on Ukraine's borders, with Russia, Belarus and Russian-occupied Crimea and on warships in the Black Sea.

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