Many governments urging citizens to leave Ukraine

Travellers wait at the check-in counters ahead of their flights at the Boryspil airport some 30 kilometres outside Kyiv on Feb 13, 2022. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP, REUTERS) - Fearing an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, many countries are urging their citizens there to leave and are cutting back their diplomatic staff.

Among the countries that have called on their nationals to leave Ukraine are the United States, Australia, Belgium, Britain, Bulgaria, Canada, Estonia, Germany, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovenia, and the United Arab Emirates.

France advised against travel to border areas of northern and eastern Ukraine, but has not told its citizens to leave the country.

Romania, which borders Ukraine, has strongly recommended its nationals avoid travel to the country and to "re-evaluate the need to stay" if already there.

Moscow has recalled some of its diplomatic staff, saying it fears "provocations".

The US ordered the departure of most of its diplomatic staff in Kyiv, saying a Russian offensive could begin "any day now". Washington will maintain a consular presence in the western city of Lviv.

Canada is closing its embassy in Kyiv temporarily, moving diplomatic operations to Lviv, as is Australia.

Canada has also temporarily withdrawn its Ukraine-based military personnel to an undisclosed destination in Europe. Canada, which has the world’s third-largest Ukrainian population after Ukraine and Russia, has kept a 200-strong training mission in western Ukraine since 2015.

Meanwhile, European Union bodies recommended non-essential diplomatic personnel in Kyiv leave the country and telecommute from abroad.

Romania has withdrawn non-essential personnel from its embassy in Kyiv, and Israel has evacuated the families of embassy diplomats and staff.

The Dutch airline KLM announced on Saturday that it was suspending its flights to Ukraine until further notice.

But the Ukrainian infrastructure ministry said on Sunday the country would leave its airspace open despite the possibility of a Russian invasion.

Singaporeans urged to leave Ukraine

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) has advised Singaporeans in Ukraine to leave the country amid rising tensions.

In a travel advisory issued on Sunday (Feb 13) night, MFA said Singaporeans are advised to leave Ukraine as soon as possible via commercial means while it is still possible to do so.

It said the ministry may not be in a position to assist with departure if conflict breaks out, adding that Singapore does not have a diplomatic mission in Ukraine.

Singaporeans who are still in Ukraine should immediately e-register with the MFA at this website.

Those requiring consular assistance can contact the MFA Duty Office (24 hours) on:

Tel: +65 6379-8800/55
Fax: +65 6476-7302

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