Aug 23, 2022 - World

U.S. warns Russia "stepping up efforts" against civilians in Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks duringan event on August,15, 2022, in Kubinka, outside of Moscow, Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during an Aug. 15 event in Kubinka, outside of Moscow. Photo: Contributor/Getty Images

The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is urging American citizens to leave Ukraine, citing State Department information indicating that civilians face a heightened risk from Russian military strikes in the coming days.

Driving the news: The security alert was issued late Monday, as U.S. and Ukrainian officials raise concern that Putin's forces may launch a fresh offensive on Wednesday — which marks six months since the start of the invasion and also Independence Day, when Ukrainians commemorate the end of Soviet rule, per the New York Times.

What they're saying: "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 U.S. Embassy said in its alert.

  • "The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so."

The big picture: Security has been bolstered in Kyiv and across Ukraine ahead of Independence Day, with officials announcing public gatherings are banned due to concerns about increased Russian airstrikes during the holiday period.

  • The car bomb death of Darya Dugina, daughter of Russian ultra-nationalist Alexander Dugin, has led some nationalists in Russia to call for an escalation in the war on Ukraine after the Kremlin blamed Kyiv for the attack, which Ukrainian officials deny.

Meanwhile, the area around Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station continues to be shelled, raising concerns the plant could be attacked. The European Union, U.S. and 41 other countries have demanded Russian forces withdraw from the area.

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