Monday 23 May 2022

The Netherlands calls on all Dutch to leave Ukraine, including most embassy staff

The Russian coat of arms set on the embassy in Kyiv. Photo: Sergei Supinsky / AFP

The government is urging Dutch nationals in Ukraine to leave the country as soon as possible and the official travel advice has been switched to red.

‘The security situation is worrying and has worsened in recent days,’ foreign minister Wopke Hoekstra said. ‘Following consultation with various allies, I am now taking this step and calling on all Dutch people to leave Ukraine.’

Embassy personnel are also leaving, but a skeleton crew will remain behind to provide emergency visas and other paperwork in the western city of Lviv.

Belgium, Germany, and Britain have also urged their nationals to leave and the US has asked all non-essential embassy staff to go.

On Saturday afternoon, KLM said it was stopping all flights to Kyiv with immediate effect. People whose flights have been cancelled should contact the foreign ministry for information, a spokesman told broadcaster NOS.

The airline has also stopped flying over Ukrainian air space.

Invasion

Fears of a Russian invasion have increased and US national security advisor Jake Sullivan said on Friday night that an invasion could take place within a matter of days.

Ukraine has called for calm. ‘It is important to remain united and not to sow panic,’ the foreign ministry said in a statement.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and US president Joe Biden are due to hold talks later on Saturday

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