More countries joined the list of countries evacuating embassy staff and urging their citizens to leave Ukraine on Sunday (February 13) as Washington and its allies warned that the Russian military, which has 100,000 troops massed near Ukraine, could invade at any moment.
Moscow has dismissed those warnings as “hysteria.”
Israel said it was evacuating relatives of staff at its embassy in Kyiv, citing “an aggravation of the situation” in an apparent reference to the crisis between Ukraine and Russia.
The Foreign Ministry statement further urged Israelis to avoid travelling to Ukraine and those there to “to avoid areas of tension”.
Australia and New Zealand on Sunday (February 13) became the latest countries to urge their citizens to leave as soon as possible, joining Britain, Japan, Latvia, Norway and the Netherlands.
Canada shut its embassy in Kyiv and relocated its diplomatic staff to a temporary office in Lviv, the western part of the country.
Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced the embassy closure on Saturday (February 12), shortly after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy that Canada stands with his country.
Earlier, the U.S. State Department ordered most of its embassy staff to leave Ukraine.
Russia said on Saturday (February 12) that it had decided to “optimize” its diplomatic staff numbers in Ukraine, fearing “provocations” by Kyiv or others. It said its embassy and consulates in Ukraine continued to perform their key functions.