Israel Reiterates Call to Citizens to Leave Ukraine 'Immediately'

Foreign Ministry warns 'outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine may be swift and harsh' as West warns of Russian invasion and Ukrainian separatists mobilize

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Ukrainian service members are seen on the front line near the village of Zaitseve in the Donetsk region, Ukraine on Saturday.
Ukrainian service members are seen on the front line near the village of Zaitseve in the Donetsk region, Ukraine on Saturday.Credit: GLEB GARANICH/ REUTERS

Israel repeated its call for citizens to leave Ukraine on Saturday following a situation assessment, as Western governments continued to warn that Russia is poised to invade.

The call to evacuate came a week after the government issued a strict travel warning urging all Israelis to depart from Ukraine immediately.

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The Foreign Ministry statement released Saturday said a situation assessment had taken place at the ministry, as well as “a series of talks” held by the ministry’s director-general at the Munich Security Conference.

Travelers wait at the check-in counter ahead of their Ukraine International Airlines flight to Kyiv at Israel's Ben Gurion airport, Sunday.Credit: JACK GUEZ / AFP

“The outbreak of hostilities in Ukraine may be swift and harsh,” the ministry warned.

Ambassador Michael Brodsky and embassy staff will remain in Kyiv for now, the ministry said, and the consular department will be open on Sunday to help citizens get travel documents.

The U.S. has closed its embassy in Kyiv and sent all remaining staffers there to Lviv, near the Polish border.

Pro-Russia separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine ordered a full military mobilization Saturday while Western leaders made increasingly dire warnings that a Russian invasion of its neighbor appeared imminent.

NATO’s liaison office in Kyiv said it was relocating staff to Brussels and to the western Ukraine city of Lviv. Meanwhile, top Ukrainian military officials came under a shelling attack during a tour of the front of the nearly eight-year separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine.

Violence in eastern Ukraine has spiked in recent days as Ukraine and the two regions held by the rebels each accused the other of escalation. Russia on Saturday said at least two shells fired from a government-held part of eastern Ukraine landed across the border, but Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba dismissed the claim as “a fake statement.”

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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