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Kiev prepares for evacuation

Kiev will be completely evacuated if Russian troops storm over the border and attempt to invade Ukraine, a senior city official revealed on Thursday.

Speaking to radio station Hromadske, Kiev’s municipal security director, Roman Tkachuk, stated that the city’s three million residents would be taken out of the capital in the event of war. However, the official did not specify where they would be evacuated to, or how.

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“In the event of hostilities, an evacuation will be carried out, and only critical infrastructure workers and the Armed Forces of Ukraine will remain in the city,” Tkachuk said. However, those who choose to stay will not be forced out, he assured.

The announcement comes amid rising tensions over the conflict on the border between Russia and Ukraine. Moscow stands accused of stationing over 100,000 Russian troops on the frontier, and Washington has accused the Kremlin of planning an invasion.

The crisis in Ukraine began in 2014, following the events of the Maidan, when violent street protests toppled the democratically elected government in Kiev. Shortly after, two regions in the east of the country declared themselves to be independent states, named the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics. Moscow has repeatedly refused to recognize the breakaway states as sovereign, instead calling for them to be integrated into Ukraine with a special status.

On Friday, the heads of the DPR and LPR recommended that citizens begin evacuating to Russia, accusing Kiev of planning an attack. Ukraine has completely denied any intent to invade, with Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba calling it Russian “disinformation.”

“We are fully committed to diplomatic conflict resolution only,” he said.

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