US warns citizens to leave Ukraine as fears of independence day attack mount
Kyiv, Ukraine - The US has urged its citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately amid fears of increasing Russian attacks.
The US embassy in Kyiv issued a security alert on Tuesday, saying "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."
Ukraine will celebrate the 31st anniversary of its independence from the Soviet Union on Wednesday, exactly half a year after the war began.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia may mark the occasion with an increase in attacks. The assassination of Darya Dugina, the daughter of one of Vladimir Putin's most influential intellectual allies, has also raised concerns that a strike is imminent. Dugina's funeral was held on Tuesday, as both countries continue to blame each other for the car bombing that killed her.
The State Department's warnings, meanwhile, are not exactly new. A month before the war began, on January 24, US citizens were told to leave the country. In July, the US issued a further warning about heavy missile attacks.
A travel warning for Ukraine has also been in place since February.
Cover photo: Collage: REUTERS