State Department tells families of U.S. personnel to leave Belarus as Russian presence increases

The U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. says Russia could send as many as 25,000 additional troops to the Belarus-Ukraine border early this month.
United States Department of State

The U.S. State Department has directed the family members of American government personnel to exit Belarus and is telling other Americans not to visit due to the "Russian military buildup" on the country's border with Ukraine.

The department issued a travel advisory on Monday cautioning U.S. citizens either in the region or contemplating a visit to "be aware that the situation is unpredictable and there is heightened tension in the region."

Russian currently has more than 100,000 troops stationed along its border with Ukraine, as concern among western nations escalates over the possibility of an invasion. President Vladimir Putin has sent Russian forces into Belarus to participate in military exercises, which put those troops just 50 miles away from Kyiv.

The U.S. State Department already issued an order to U.S. personnel at the country's embassy in Kyiv.

On Monday, during the U.N. Security Council meeting concerning tensions in the region, U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Linda Thomas-Greenfield disclosed that Putin has moved "nearly 5,000 troops into Belarus, with short-range ballistic missiles, special forces and anti-aircraft batteries."

Thomas-Greenfield added that the U.S. believes Russia could send more than 25,000 additional troops to the Belarus-Ukraine border by early this month. The Russian Ambassador then accused the U.S. of "whipping up hysterics" about the possible invasion.