Saudi Arabia asks citizens in Ukraine to contact embassy, arrange immediate departure

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Saudi Arabia is requesting citizens in Ukraine to call the local embassy to “facilitate immediate departure” from the country, according to a statement from the embassy on social media.

It also asked all citizens to “postpone their travel” until further notice.

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A number of countries in the Gulf, including Kuwait and the UAE, also called on their citizens to postpone any plans to visit Ukraine amid heightened tensions between Kyiv and Moscow.

White House National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told reporters in Washington on Friday that an attack by the more than 100,000 Russian troops currently massed next to Ukraine “could occur any day now” and said Americans in Ukraine “should leave as soon as possible.”

A high-stakes call between Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Joe Biden is expected on Saturday.

Russia, a main player in the escalation, also “optimized” its diplomatic staff numbers in Ukraine, fearing “provocations” by Kyiv or other party, a spokeswoman for the Russian foreign ministry said on Saturday.

Spokesperson Maria Zakharova did not say whether that meant a reduction in staff numbers but said the embassy and consulates in Ukraine continued to perform their key functions, according to reports.

Tensions have been mounting for weeks due to a Russian military buildup and surge of military activity that has fueled fears that Russia could attack Ukraine. Russia denies any such plans.

With agencies

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