Cabinet calls on all Dutch to leave Ukraine. Most of the embassy staff in Kiev will also leave the country. The security situation was already alarming and had further deteriorated in recent days. “In consultation with various allies, I am now taking this step and calling on all Dutch people to leave Ukraine,” said Foreign Minister Woepke Hoekstra.
The color code for Ukraine changes from “orange” to “red” for the entire country. This means that the Dutch are advised not to travel to Ukraine and that those in the country should leave it as soon as possible. The reason is the unstable security situation in the country, which can deteriorate very quickly.
In a press moment about the situation in Ukraine, Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said he was not sure how many Dutch people were in Ukraine at the moment. 135 people have informed the embassy and we are in contact with them. I would say to anyone out there to take advantage of the opportunity to get away. We say to all the Dutch: Now leave as soon as possible.
Hoekstra says he is looking into Ukraine’s request for sponsorship assistance — but also quickly. ‘I hope to report this to the House of Representatives next week, with Minister Kajsa Olungren, and discuss it with the House of Representatives.
“Yesterday, in a digital session, the Dutch were already advised to reconsider their status and presence in Ukraine, which in fact indicates in less diplomatic words that they would be wise to prepare to leave,” says Europe correspondent Gert Jan Hahn. According to him, some Dutch were working on it as well. But this is now accelerating. The Dutch could initially also travel to western Ukraine where the Dutch embassy set up a meeting point. The Dutch can go there for travel advice and emergency documents,” explains Hahn.
“The red travel tip is in keeping with the sentiment that prevailed yesterday after meeting with the embassy in Kiev,” says Ukrainian entrepreneur Eric Jemilij Melling. He lived and worked in the country for years. Jamilig Melling and his family are busy packing their last belongings. We will load the car and go to Lviv. This is a city in western Ukraine, near the Polish border. Jamilig Melling and his family are staying there for a short time to take a look at the situation. From there we can cross the Polish border and make our further plans to go to Holland. But the situation is changing every hour.
Departure from Ukraine
More and more countries have called on their citizens to leave the country. This applies, among others, to Great Britain, Canada, Norway, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Germany and Belgium. US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said yesterday that every American in Ukraine should leave the country as soon as possible, at least within 24 to 48 hours.
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Sullivan warned that Russia could invade Ukraine “at any time”. He said a Russian invasion of Ukraine before the end of the Winter Olympics is “very, very possible.” The games ended on February 20. Sullivan emphasized that he was not sure whether Russian President Vladimir Putin had actually decided on the invasion, but the Americans were preparing for a worst-case scenario.
“If there is a Russian attack on Ukraine, it is likely to start with air and missile strikes, which, of course, could lead to civilian deaths,” Sullivan told reporters in Washington.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was “of great importance” not to panic over the situation between Russia and Ukraine. Moreover, actions that lead to destabilization should be avoided.
Listen also | Everything you need to know about the Ukraine crisis. With Hammelburg, De Wijk and Hahn.
US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the Ukraine crisis could be resolved diplomatically “if Russia wants it.” Blinken is visiting Fiji and will speak today with his Russian colleague Sergey Lavrov. Before the conversation, Blinken warned that the United States was also prepared if Putin chose aggression. “Then we will quickly impose severe economic sanctions, and we will work with allies and partners around the world,” he said. Blinken also expressed his support for Ukraine.
Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov said the West is waging a “propaganda campaign” about Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. In a phone call today, Lavrov said the West is inciting Ukraine to violently resolve the conflict in the country’s east, where pro-Russian separatists have separated from the government in Kiev.
Listen also | Tensions remain high around the Ukrainian border
Moreover, the United States comes to the aid of NATO allies. For example, yesterday the United States decided to send an additional 3,000 soldiers to Poland. The Army had 8,500 men ready in the United States by the end of January to act quickly. It is expected that 3,000 of these soldiers will arrive in Poland from North Carolina early next week.