The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine is warning of “unusual Russian military activity” near the nation's borders and in the annexed peninsula of Crimea.
In a sted Wednesday, the embassy advised U.S. citizens not to travel to Crimea due to “abuses by Russian occupation authorities," as well as in the eastern parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk administrative divisions.
Overall, the embassy advises Americans not to travel to Ukraine in general due to COVID-19.
“U.S. citizens are reminded the security conditions along the border may change with little or no notice,” the embassy said. "Please check our website and social media pages for additional information.”
Ukraine fears that Russia may be preparing to invade, as it did when it annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014.
Brig. Gen. Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s defense intelligence agency, told the Military Times last weekend that Russia had more than 92,000 troops amassed at the border and could attack as early as the end of January.
Russia, for its part, has denied intents to invade Ukraine and has instead accused Kyiv of being provocative.
Both Moscow and Kyiv staged military exercises on Wednesday, Reuters reported.
During drills in the Black Sea, Russian fighter planes and ships practiced repelling air attacks and responding to airstrikes, Reuters reported, citing Russian news outlet Interfax.
Meanwhile, Ukraine held a “special operation” which included drone exercises and drills for anti-tank and airborne units at the border with Belarus, the outlet noted.
Amid the growing concerns, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Mark MilleyMark MilleyBiden to attend services for Bob Dole To advance democracy, defend Taiwan and Ukraine Overnight Defense & National Security — Preparing for the Biden-Putin call MORE spoke via phone on Tuesday with Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov, Russia’s top military officer, to discuss “several security-related issues of concern.” Milley spoke with Lt. Gen. Valeriy Zaluzhny, commander in chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, a day prior.