Air assistance

Ukraine crisis: important numbers and advice for Americans still in the country

Late on February 23, 2022, Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine with a series of missile launches, targeting several cities including the capital Kiev. According to the latest reports, missiles hit the cities of Odessa, Kharkiv and Lviv. Russian tanks also entered northern Ukraine from the Belarusian border, leading Ukraine to impose martial law across the country.

The military action comes just a day after Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to recognize the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk. The move led to a series of sanctions from the United States and its Western allies, but it clearly did little to deter Putin. The world is now racing to react to the invasion, even as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged citizens to remain calm.

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The United States warned against travel to Ukraine and asked people to leave, issuing a Level 4 warning on February 12. President Joe Biden has also so far refused to deploy the US military to carry out an evacuation from Ukraine, similar to the one that happened. in Afghanistan in 2021. It’s unclear how many Americans are still in the country, but as the invasion begins, it’s not vital to leave Ukraine sooner.

Civilians including Tatiana (L), 21, a university veterinary student, take part in a Kyiv Territorial Defense Unit training on a Saturday in a forest on January 22, 2022 in Kyiv, Ukraine. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

How Americans Can Get Help

If you or someone you know is still in Ukraine, it is essential that you consider leaving as soon as possible. Ukrainian airspace has been closed to commercial traffic, so it is highly unlikely that anyone will be able to fly out of the country at this time. According to the US Embassy in Ukraine, US citizens can get help in three main ways. The first is to complete an online support form, which the Department of State will use to contact you.

The second way is to call the embassy, ​​either at +1 833 741 2777 (from within the United States) or +1 606 260 4379 (from outside the United States). However, given the invasion, it is highly likely that the numbers will be inundated with calls, so if it is a genuine emergency you may wish to contact via email [email protected] It is not known how soon you will get an answer. The United States Embassy in Ukraine was officially closed and all employees have since been transferred to Poland. Therefore, if you need physical assistance, you will have to leave the country.

The Embassy’s website states that US citizens can still leave the country by land and must go to one of the following countries: Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia or Moldova. The United States has also established a 24-hour reception center in Przemysl, along the Polish-Ukrainian border. Traveling to Belarus is not advised, as Russian forces have used the country as a staging platform and have indeed moved into Ukraine from Belarus. In case you cannot leave the country, the embassy says you must “shelter in place” and “follow the instructions of the local authorities”.

The website reiterates that “the US government will not be able to evacuate US citizens”, so it advised you to turn to your local authorities for assistance in case you are unable to evacuate. Keep an eye on the Embassy website for more updates as more information becomes available. You can also follow the U.S. Embassy on Twitter at @USEmbassyKyiv or on Facebook at the U.S. Embassy Kyiv, Ukraine for updates.

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