U.S. Embassy in Ukraine urges American citizens to consider departing now

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A flag waves in the wind at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine January 24, 2022. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

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Jan 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv urged American citizens in Ukraine to consider departing now, saying that the security situation in the country was "unpredictable due to the increased threat of Russian military action."

The security situation in Ukraine "can deteriorate with little notice", the embassy said on its website on Wednesday.

In Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv would remain open but added that Americans in the former Soviet country should "strongly consider leaving."

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Earlier this week, the United States urged its citizens not to travel to Ukraine.

The United States delivered written replies on Wednesday to sweeping Russian security demands, a key step in a fragile diplomatic process as Russia staged new military drills on land and sea near Ukraine. read more

U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that personal sanctions on Russian President Vladimir Putin, though a rare step, could be considered as part of a drive by Washington and its allies to convince Moscow that any new aggression against Ukraine would have swift and massive costs.

Russia warned on Wednesday that imposing sanctions on Putin personally would not hurt him but would be "politically destructive."

Russia has gathered tens of thousands of troops near its border with Ukraine but has denied that it plans to invade.

The United States has spent weeks trying to build agreement with European partners on a strong sanctions package if Russia attacks.

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Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Bengaluru; Editing by Howard Goller

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