The Australian Government is urging Australian Citizens living in Ukraine to leave the country amid a high risk of armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
It is now advised that Australian’s do not travel to Ukraine according to the Smart Traveller website with the government announcing that they’ve ordered families of Australian Embassy staff in Kyiv to leave the country. The government suggests that Australians should leave “now by commercial means if it’s safe to do so” as flight availability may become scarce.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that 1400 Australians live in Ukraine and are being helped by the Australian government.
“We are very mindful of that issue and their safety that we provide them,” he said.
“It is obviously a tense situation and it’s one that we will continue to work with our partners in terms of any response that we are making, by there has been no request made and none are anticipated.”
Although other countries are also withdrawing families of diplomats, Senior Official at the Ukrainian Embassy in Canberra said that panicking would not help the situation over in Ukraine.
“In this situation, we would like to avoid panic and different kind of rumours that the invasion is inevitable,” he told the ABC Radio National.
It has been reported that Australia is aiding Ukraine by helping to deter cyber attacks from Russia. Defence Minister Peter Dutton said that it would not be sensible for Australia to take on Russia independently and that working with allies is the best option.
“If we’re going to deter countries from aggressive behaviour, then we’re best to do that with strong friends and allies and we have that in the UK [and] in the US,” he said.
The US has placed 8,500 soldiers on high alert to deploy to Europe if the conflict escalates with NATO already placing warships and fighter jets on the eastern borders of Ukraine. The US has stated that there are no plans to withdraw their officials from Ukraine.
Russia has sent troops to the Russian-Ukrainian border while they have also positioned military assets close by.