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The US state department has ordered the families of all American personnel at the US embassy in Ukraine to leave the country amid heightened fears of a Russian invasion.

The US State Department told the dependants of staffers at the US embassy in Ukraine's capital that they must leave the country and said that non-essential employees could also leave at government expense.

state department officials stressed the kyiv embassy will remain open and that the announcement does not constitute an evacuation.

The move had been under consideration for some time and does not reflect an easing of US support for Ukraine, the officials said.

The move came amid rising tensions about Russia's military buildup on the Ukraine border that were not eased during talks Friday between Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva.

In a statement on Sunday night, the state department noted recent reports that Russia was planning significant military action against Ukraine.

However, the Russian foreign ministry has accused Nato countries of escalating tensions around Ukraine with disinformation.

people told not to travel to ukraine due to the "increased threats of russian military action and covid-19.

exercise increased caution in ukraine due to crime and civil unrest.

"The security conditions, particularly along Ukraine's borders, in Russia-occupied Crimea, and in Russia-controlled eastern Ukraine, are unpredictable and can deteriorate with little notice," it added.

"demonstrations, which have turned violent at times, regularly occur throughout ukraine, including in kyiv.

The department has requested all US citizens currently in the country complete an online form so it "may better communicate" with them if needed.

"The safety and security of our staff and British nationals is our top priority.

In compliance with legal requirements, Russia has informed Ireland's aviation authorities of the planned drills in advance.

The department's travel advisory, which had warned against traveling to Ukraine because of Covid-19 as well as the tensions over Russia, was changed Sunday to carry a stronger warning.

The same source said that President Volodymyr Zelensky told US Secretary of State Antony Blinken that such a step would be an "overreaction".

Mr Blinken was in Kyiv this week where he addressed embassy staff and confirmed $ 200m in security aid to Ukraine in light of the more than 127,000 Russian troops deployed in the region.

The massing of Russian forces has dramatically raised the fear that an invasion or incursion may be increasingly likely.

Currently, commercial flights are available to support departures," the official told CNN.

There is no certainty that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to invade, but the continuing build-up of Russian troops, most recently moving units into Belarus, is particularly worrisome.

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