France urges nationals in Ukraine to leave the country as tension continue to grow between Russia and Ukraine.
This is coming after Germany also ordered its nationals to leave Ukraine “urgently”.
According to AFP, France urges nationals in Ukraine to leave now and calls on those in the most exposed areas in the east of the country to leave “without delay”.
“It is recommended that all French nationals whose stay in Ukraine has no compelling reason to leave the country”, underlines French diplomacy in its travel advice updated on Saturday.
Those who are “in the oblasts of Kharkiv, Lugansk and Donetsk” as well as in the Dnipro region are “called upon to ‘leave these areas without delay’, she adds.
Earlier in the afternoon, Germany had called on its nationals to leave Ukraine “urgently” . “We warn against any travel to Ukraine,” said a statement issued by the German Foreign Ministry, which “urgently urges German nationals” who are there to “leave the country without delay”.
At the same time, Lufthansa announced that it was suspending its flights to Kiev and Odessa from Monday until the end of February.
Mortar shells in the east of the country
The tension went up a notch in Ukraine again this Saturday. Russia has conducted exercises involving heavy missile fire, a new show of force from Moscow at a time when Washington says it is convinced of an imminent invasion of Ukraine.
In the afternoon, mortar shells exploded near Ukrainian Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky during his trip to the front line in the east of the country.
The incident, which did not cause any injuries, happened near the village of Novoluganské, on the front line with Russian-backed separatists, where several Ukrainian officials have visited amid unprecedented tensions with Moscow.
Ukraine is “the shield” of Europe
Travelling to Germany, the Ukrainian president called on Europeans to come to the aid of the country.
“We appreciate any help, but everyone must understand: these are not charitable contributions that Ukraine should ask for (…) It is your contribution to the security of Europe and the world. Where the Ukraine has been the shield for eight years,” Volodymyr Zelensky said.