US warns Americans in Ukraine to keep low profile, stay inside

The State Department is warning Americans traveling to or living in Ukraine to keep a low profile and remain indoors at night, as clashes go on. 

The United States embassy issued the new travel alert on Tuesday night as demonstrations escalated in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev. 

“U.S. citizens are advised to avoid all protests, demonstrations, and large gatherings. U.S. citizens whose residences or hotels are located in the vicinity of the protests are cautioned to leave those areas or prepare to remain indoors, possibly for several days, should clashes occur,” the alert says.

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Between Tuesday and Wednesday, at least 25 people were killed in the violent protests in Kiev, and 241 people were injured, according to The Associated Press

“Protest-related violence, particularly in Kiev, escalated sharply on Feb. 18, resulting in several deaths and hundreds of injuries,” the State Department’s alert reads.

The violence on Tuesday was the worst in nearly three months of anti-government protests.

Vice President Biden called Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych that day and expressed “grave concern” about his government’s police crackdown in Kiev. 

“We call on President Yanukovych and the Ukrainian government to de-escalate the situation immediately, and resume dialogue with the opposition on a peaceful path forward. Ukraine’s deep divisions will not be healed by spilling more innocent blood,” the State Department said in a statement after Biden’s phone call.

Americans living in or traveling to Ukraine are urged to enroll in the State Department’s “Smart Traveler Enrollment Program,” which tracks citizens abroad.