The State Department issued an order Saturday directing families of U.S. Embassy personnel in Ukraine to evacuate the country as soon as Monday, Fox News reports. Per Fox, the State Department is also expected to issue guidance next week encouraging American civilians to begin leaving Ukraine on commercial flights.
News of the evacuation order comes only hours after the first shipment of a $200 million military aid package U.S. lawmakers approved last month arrived in Ukraine, Reuters reported. As U.S. and Russian diplomats continue to pursue a peaceful solution, Russia continues to move more troops to the Ukrainian border and refuses to back down from its demands that Ukraine be barred from NATO membership and that the alliance roll back its military presence in Eastern Europe.
According to The Associated Press, Russian President Vladimir Putin has also announced joint military drills on Ukraine's border with close ally Belarus as well as new naval exercises in the Black Sea, and even threatened to deploy Russian military assets to Cuba and Venezuela.
In a White House press conference held Wednesday, President Biden said he expects Putin "will move" against Ukraine but that the U.S. and its NATO allies are ready to impose "heavy" costs on Russia via sanctions and military support for Ukraine.