The U.S. embassy in Kyiv warned Americans that the Russian military plans to escalate its attacks on civilian targets and government buildings and advised them to leave the country if possible.
Wednesday will mark Ukrainian Independence Day and analysts fear Russia will mark the occasion with a renewed offensive. The embassy in Kyiv told Americans to leave the country “now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so,” according to the New York Post.
The State Department on Monday told Americans still in the country to “immediately seek cover” should sirens go off. “If in a home or a building, go to the lowest level of the structure with the fewest exterior walls, windows, and openings; close any doors and sit near an interior wall, away from any windows or openings.”
Russia currently controls a swath of territory in the south of Ukraine, extending from the eastern edge of the Mykolaiv Oblast all the way to the outskirts of Kharkiv. Russian forces took control of all of Luhansk following a Ukrainian retreat from the region at the end of June. July and August have thus far seen Moscow make few territorial gains.
In Kyiv, the government has banned public gatherings to avoid presenting the Russians with attractive civilian targets and warned that Moscow may try something “particularly ugly” during the holiday week, the Post reported.
The warnings come as the Russian military faces political pressure at home to speed up its conquest of Ukraine following the deadly car bombing over the weekend that killed Darya Dugina, the daughter of prominent Putin supporter Alexander Dugin. Russia has blamed Ukraine for the attack though Kyiv denies responsibility.