Tuesday

5th Mar 2024

EU countries urge nationals out of Ukraine

  • No signs of an exodus at Boryspil airport, Reuters said on Sunday (Photo: Juanedc)
Listen to article

Citing a growing risk of a Russian attack, several EU countries and Britain have followed the US in urging their nationals to leave Ukraine.

Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden, as well as the UK, joined a growing list of countries over the weekend calling on expats to fly out on commercial services.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"If you are currently in Ukraine, make sure that your presence is absolutely necessary. If it is not, leave the country shortly," the German foreign ministry advised.

Irish citizens were urged to leave "immediately."

The UK and the US have also flown back home military trainers who had been embedding with the Ukrainian army.

"There will be no British troops in Ukraine if there is any conflict with Russia," British under-secretary of state for the armed forces, James Heappey, told the BBC on Saturday (12 February).

The departures come after US national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned Friday that, "We are in the window when an invasion could begin at any time."

"If a Russian attack on Ukraine proceeds, it is likely to begin with aerial bombing and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians without regard to their nationality," he said.

Many EU states and the EU foreign service have also asked non-essential diplomats and their relatives to go home.

But the EU foreign service, which is leaving eight diplomats in place, has been at pains to say that the withdrawals-to-date did not amount to an "evacuation," and Reuters reported on Sunday from Kyiv that there were "no signs of exodus" at the city's main Boryspil airport.

"The EU and its member states are coordinating their actions in view of the current threats on Ukraine. Our diplomatic missions are not closing," EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell said Saturday.

Matti Maasikas, the EU ambassador in Ukraine, posted a photo of EU ambassadors meeting in Kyiv on social media the same day.

The heightened alarm comes amid ongoing diplomatic efforts.

German chancellor Olaf Scholz was expected to tell Russian president Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday, "that any attack on Ukraine will have heavy consequences" in terms of sanctions, a German government source told Reuters on Sunday.

US president Joe Biden and French president Emmanuel Macron also phoned Putin this weekend to urge de-escalation.

Ukrainian president Volodomyr Zelensky cautioned Western leaders against stoking "panic" on Saturday.

He also promised to pursue "diplomacy and deterrence" after speaking with Biden on Sunday.

And Russia has continued to dismiss Western concerns.

"Hysteria has reached its peak," Yuri Ushakov, a foreign policy advisor to Putin, told reporters in Moscow after the Biden-Putin call.

Opinion

The macabre saga of Navalny's corpse

With Alexei Navalny's funeral in Moscow on Friday, Vladimir Putin's regime haven't just insulted his mother and widow with their treatment of his corpse — they've breached international treaties and conventions.

Latest News

  1. EU must overhaul Africa trade offer to parry China, warns MEP
  2. EU watchdog faults European Commission over Libya
  3. Hungary's Ukrainian refugees in two minds as relations sour
  4. The six-hour U-turn that saw the EU vote for austerity
  5. Defence, von der Leyen, women's rights, in focus This WEEK
  6. The farming lobby vs Europe's wolves
  7. EU socialists fight battle on two fronts in election campaign
  8. EU docks €32m in funding to UN Gaza agency pending audit

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us