The U.S. Department of State issued a new warning to Americans in Ukraine on Monday morning, telling them to “leave immediately” due to potential travel disruptions.
“The Department of State continues to urge U.S. citizens to depart Ukraine immediately using commercial or private means due to the increased threat of Russian military action,” the State Department said in a press release.
The agency said that the “security situation” in the Eastern European country remains “unpredictable” and may “deteriorate with little notice.” Meanwhile, Russian military operations might “severely restrict commercial air travel,” which would potentially impact U.S. citizens trying to flee, the State Department said.
Early Monday, Ukraine and Russia again lobbed accusations at one another over alleged fighting in eastern Ukraine. After Moscow claimed that Ukrainian soldiers crossed into its territory and Russian forces killed five of its soldiers, Ukraine denied the allegations on social media.
“No, Ukraine did NOT: Attack Donetsk or Luhansk; send saboteurs or APCs over the Russian border; shell Russian territory; shell Russian border crossing; conduct acts of sabotage,” wrote Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter.
Hours earlier, Russian military officials via state-run media that it killed five suspected saboteurs who crossed from Ukraine into Russia’s Rostov region and also destroyed two armored vehicles.
Amid the heightened invasion warning, the Biden administration sent a letter to the United Nations human rights chief alleging that Moscow has compiled a list of Ukrainians to be killed or sent to detention camps after the invasion. Top Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied such claims and said no such list exists.
Starting Thursday, shelling spiked along the tense line of contact that separates Ukrainian military forces and Russian-backed rebels in the Donbas region. Since a conflict erupted there in 2014, it’s estimated that at least 14,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Ukraine and the separatist rebels have traded blame for cease-fire violations with hundreds of explosions recorded daily. Separatist leaders in Donetsk and Lugansk on Friday announced the evacuation of hundreds of thousands of civilians, saying they can go into Russia.
On Monday, the head of the self-declared Lugansk People’s Republic, Leonid Pasechnik, said Russian President Vladimir Putin should recognize the regions as independent states. The head of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Denis Pushilin, also called on the Russian leader to recognize the region as a state.
“I ask you to recognize the sovereignty and independence of the Lugansk People’s Republic. I also ask you to consider the possibility of concluding a friendship and cooperation agreement between the LPR and the Russian Federation, including cooperation in defense,” Pasechnik said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times