White House says it has no plans for a mass evacuation of US citizens from Ukraine

10 February 2022, 06:03 PM

There is no plan for a mass evacuation of U.S. citizens from Ukraine, but they are encouraged to leave in the light of a potential Russian invasion of the country, White House spokesperson Jen Psaki said at a briefing on Feb. 9.

Psaki noted that the U.S. “did not typically do mass evacuations,” but added that Afghanistan, where the United States did conduct a mass evacuation for U.S. nationals, was a unique situation for many reasons.

According to Psaki, “there are a range of means that individuals and Americans can depart from Ukraine, and we (the White House) have been encouraging them to do exactly that.”

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Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby repeated the U.S. government’s position during another press briefing on Feb. 9 that there were no active efforts to militarily evacuate U.S. citizens from Ukraine, as there are “plenty of opportunities” to leave Ukraine and it is not currently a war zone.

Kirby also said the 82nd Airborne Division, currently arriving in Poland, is multi-mission capable and would be ready to handle “a number of contingencies”, including evacuation, if needed. Kirby said he could not disclose any details on preparations for the potential removal of U.S. citizens from Ukraine.

“There should be no need for the 82nd Airborne to have to assist with evacuation,” said Kirby.

“(That is) if Americans that are in Ukraine are paying close attention to the warnings and the advisories that they've gotten, and do the right thing while there's time to do it,” he said.

On Feb. 9 The Wall Street Journal reported that the White House had approved the Pentagon’s plan to deploy U.S. troops in Poland to help U.S. citizens fleeing Ukraine if Russia invaded.

According to the WSJ, the 82nd Airborne Division will shortly start setting up checkpoints and tents in Poland to prepare for a potential influx of U.S. citizens fleeing Ukraine. The article noted that military personnel would not enter Ukrainian territory, but would provide material and technical support.

The U.S. State Department is encouraging U.S. citizens to leave Ukraine.

The U.S. embassy also previously announced it would reduce its staff in Kyiv, and issued mandatory evacuation measures for families and dependents of embassy staff.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry criticized the measure, labeling it premature.

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