In the early hours of Tuesday, August 23, the U.S. State Department issued an emergency alert at the US embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. All Americans were instructed to leave Ukraine immediately using ground transport. Russian forces are taking ground in Kyiv and ramping up attacks on civilian infrastructure. Russia has been conducting strikes on rail, transport and power infrastructure to stop the flow of high-tech weaponry coming in from the West.
Worse yet, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warns that the world is in a “maximum moment of danger” as the war in Ukraine nears the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
Americans instructed to leave Ukraine immediately
The emergency notification warned of potential Russian airstrikes in the coming days: “The Department of State has information that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days.” The notification said “Russian strikes in Ukraine pose a continued threat to civilians and civilian infrastructure” and urged “U.S. citizens to depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so.” The threat of a nuclear disaster at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is also high.
As Americans are urged to leave Ukraine using ground transport, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned everyone to stay home and stay safe due to the ongoing threat of missile strikes. The government is shutting down Independence Day celebrations “in order to ensure the safety of citizens,” and to “provide for the possibility of sheltering participants” in case air raids are conducted across the cities.
Ukrainian security forces have been deployed throughout metropolitan areas to disperse crowds, shut down events, and enforce curfews. Kyiv officials have dispersed all gatherings throughout the city, warning the people “it is forbidden to hold mass events, peaceful meetings, rallies, and other events related to a large gathering of people.”
Ukraine’s Independence Day celebration was cancelled in both the capital city and in Kharkiv, the second largest city in Ukraine. Kharkiv is on a curfew from 4 p.m. to 7 a.m., Tuesday through Thursday, as Ukrainians face a new kind of lock down. The Independence Day parade has been shut down, too. Now the street is lined with Russian military equipment that has either been captured or destroyed.
Zelensky warns of potential Russian airstrikes during Ukraine’s Independence Day
In Zelensky’s last nightly address, he warned of “particularly ugly” and “particularly vicious” attacks that are about to come out of Russia. “One of the key tasks of the enemy is to humiliate us, Ukrainians, to devalue our capabilities, our heroes, to spread despair, fear, to spread conflicts,” said Zelensky. “Therefore, it is important never, for a single moment, to give in to this enemy pressure, not to wind oneself up, not to show weakness.” Ukrainian General Valerii Zaluzhnyi reports that their military has lost over 9,000 Ukrainian troops so far.
The Russians will likely try to strike civilian gatherings, as Ukrainians try to celebrate their Independence. Also, the Kremlin will likely try to avenge the death of Daria Dugina — the daughter of Alexander Dugina, a close ally to Putin. Moscow blames the assassination of Dugina on Ukrainian forces. Russian authorities are currently setting up steel cages in Mariupol, and they are allegedly planning trials for captured prisoners of war.
The situation could escalate over the next week as the U.S. State Department prepares Americans for a mass exodus out of Ukraine.