Ukraine declares state of emergency, tells citizens to leave Russia

A Ukrainian service member listens to artillery shots standing in a trench
Associated Press/Evgeniy Maloletka

Ukraine on Wednesday declared a 30-day state of emergency and urged Ukrainian citizens in Russia to leave the country immediately as Kyiv takes steps to prepare for a potential further invasion by Russia.

All men eligible to fight were ordered to participate in compulsory military service by Ukraine, Reuters reported.

The development is another indicator that the door to diplomacy is closing and that Ukraine is now readying itself for possible armed conflict. 

“Predicting what might be the next step of Russia, the separatists or the personal decisions of the Russian president — I cannot say,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said, according to Reuters. 

The declaration comes as new satellite imagery taken on Tuesday by Maxar Technologies indicated a new deployment of military vehicles and troop tents and shelters in southern Belarus less than 30 miles from the Ukrainian border.

Officials have estimated that up to 190,000 Russian troops had been amassed near the Ukrainian border. Russian officials claimed last week that they had started pulling back some of their troops, but NATO and U.S. officials said that they believed Russia had only appeared to do the opposite. 

The New York Times noted that the new deployment is most likely coming from Russia.

The declaration of a state of emergency also comes as Russia recognized two breakaway regions of Ukraine on Monday as independent and Russian President Vladimir Putin announced troops would be entering the two separatist areas.

President Biden said in remarks on Tuesday that he believed it was “the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.”

“He’s setting up a rationale to take more territory by force, in my view. And if we listen to his speech last night … he’s setting up a rationale to go much further,” Biden said in remarks on Tuesday from the East Room. “This is the beginning of a Russian invasion of Ukraine, as he indicated and asked permission to be able to do from his Duma.”

Tags Joe Biden Joe Biden Russia State of emergency Ukraine Vladimir Putin

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