The US government urges Americans to Ukraine leave the country immediately, warning that Russia intensifies its efforts to launch attacks against civilian infrastructure and government installations ahead of Ukraine’s Independence Day.
Wednesday anniversary – which commemorates 31 years since Ukraine severed ties with the Soviet Union – also marks six months since Russia’s unprovoked invasion of the country.
“The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to leave Ukraine now using private ground transportation options if safe to do so,” a security alert on the embassy’s website said. “The security situation throughout Ukraine is very unstable and conditions can deteriorate without warning.”
The renewed US alert follows similar warnings from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other officials that Moscow could carry out intense attacks, including missile strikes, around August 24.
“We should all be aware that this week Russia might try to do something particularly ugly, something particularly vicious,” Zelensky said in a video message over the weekend.
The Ukrainian government warned citizens to be “particularly careful” on Tuesday and Wednesday.
“There is an increased threat of missile attacks and other provocations – both inside and outside the country,” said Andrii Yusov, spokesman for the defense intelligence service of the Ukrainian ministry. of the defense.
“They are crazy about dates and symbols, so it would make perfect sense to be on guard and prepare for the fact that Independence Day will also be attacked. Ukraine is ready for that,” said he continued.
“The anti-aircraft alarm is a serious signal, which everyone must take into account. Especially on August 23 and 24 – these are not just words, you need to be especially careful,” Yusov added.
In Kyiv, the city’s military administration banned all large gatherings between Monday and Thursday, saying “it is forbidden to organize mass events, peaceful meetings, rallies and other events related to a large gathering of people.
General Mykola Zhyrnov, head of Kyiv’s military administration, said the order was imposed so that security forces could respond “in a timely manner to threats of missile and bomb attacks by military troops.” the Russian Federation against decision-making centres, military installations, defense industry installations, critical infrastructure and nearby residential areas.
Last week, the State Department said it called Russian Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov to a meeting so that the United States “could warn Russia against any escalation of its war against Ukraine. “, a spokesperson for the department said Monday.
This included calling on Russia to “cease all military operations at or near Ukrainian nuclear facilities and return full control of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to Ukraine,” the official added.
The town of Nikopol, across the river from the occupied factory, was bombed on Tuesday on Ukrainian National Flag Day, a local official said.
Yevhen Yevtushenko, the head of the Nikopol district military administration, warned residents to avoid mass gatherings, open areas and infrastructure until Thursday.
Kyiv and Moscow have hurled accusations at each other over security and military action in and around the plant, Europe’s largest nuclear complex. But the lack of independent access to the factory, which has been occupied by Russian forces since March, makes it impossible to verify what is going on there.
Recent satellite images from Maxar Technologies of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant show no signs of “systemic shelling”, despite Russian President Vladimir Putin’s claims that the Ukrainian military was carrying out repeated military strikes on the facility.
Tensions in the war have increased this week with the death of Darya DuginaRussian political commentator and daughter of prominent ultranationalist ideologue Alexander Dugin.
Russia has blamed Ukrainian special services for his murder, according to Russian news agency TASS.
“The murder of journalist Darya Dugina has been solved, it was prepared by Ukrainian special services, by a Ukrainian citizen,” TASS reported, citing Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), which named a woman as the perpetrator. and said she had fled to Estonia after the attack.
Ukraine has denied any involvement in Dugina’s murder, calling the FSB a fiction.
Dugina, editor-in-chief of a Russian disinformation site, died after a bomb placed in a car she was driving exploded in a Moscow suburb on Saturday night.
Dugina’s father, Alexander Duginis a prominent Russian nationalist credited with being the architect or “spiritual guide” of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.