State Department Orders Families of Diplomats to Leave Belarus

The U.S. State Department ordered family members of government staff in Belarus to evacuate on Monday and warned its citizens against travel there due to the “unusual and concerning Russian military buildup along Belarus’ border with Ukraine.”

“Due to an increase in unusual and concerning Russian military activity near the border with Ukraine, U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to Belarus should be aware that the situation is unpredictable and there is heightened tension in the region,” the State Department said in a travel advisory.

The advisory came just over a week after the Department ordered a similar evacuation from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.

U.S. officials also warned that Russia could be using joint military exercises inside Belarus as cover for an invasion of Ukraine from the north, potentially allowing Moscow to target nearby Kyiv.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield said that the U.S. has evidence Russia plans to add 30,000 troops near the Belarus-Ukraine border by early February and that 5,000 soldiers were already there.

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