The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv on Tuesday urged its citizens to leave Ukraine. The Embassy said it believes Russia is preparing to target civilian and government infrastructure over the next few days as the war reaches the six-month mark on Wednesday.
The 31st anniversary of Ukraine’s Independence Day also falls on Wednesday. President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has banned all celebrations in Kyiv, as heavy Russian attacks are expected to hit many of Ukraine’s cities.
“We must all be aware that this week Russia could try to do something particularly ugly, something particularly vicious,” Zelenskiy said in his nightly video last weekend. Kyiv’s city military administration banned all large gatherings between Monday and Thursday to facilitate emergency responders’ movements.
“It is forbidden to hold mass events, peaceful meetings, rallies, and other events related to a large gathering of people,” the administration stated. The head of Kyiv’s military administration, Gen. Mykola Zhyrnov, added that the curtailment was meant to allow security forces to resond in a timely manner to “threats of missile and bomb attacks by the troops of the Russian Federation on decision-making centers, military facilities, defense industry facilities, critical infrastructure, and nearby residential areas.”
The Ukrainian National Police also issued a warning.
“The air alert signal cannot be ignored. And this week, it is worth especially carefully following the recommendations on security measures,” the National Police said. “Our enemy is insidious. And it can deliver painful blows precisely on the days of the most important national holiday – the Independence Day of Ukraine. The National Police of Ukraine continues to work under an increased regime.”
The US Embassy released a statement that urged American citizens to leave.
“The Department of State has information that Russia is stepping up efforts to launch strikes against Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days,” the U.S. Embassy stated. “The security situation throughout Ukraine is highly volatile, and conditions may deteriorate without warning.”
American. citizens should leave Ukraine now, by their own means, if it is safe to do so, the Embassy said.
Adding to the already tense situation was the death in a car explosion of Daria Dugina, an outspoken Russian ultranationalist and the daughter of Aleksandr Dugin, himself an ultranationalist, and a political theorist sometimes referred to as “Putin’s brain.”
There is concern that the Russians will use Dugina’s death as an excuse to launch massive strikes against Ukraine’s large population centers. The Russians have claimed that Ukrainian intelligence agents hired a contractor to carry out Dugina’s slaying.
The Russian State Security service, the FSB, which is the successor to the KGB, has a longstanding reputation of not only failing to solve crimes, but blaming others while covering up the actions of high-ranking Russian politicians loyal to President Putin. They also carry out some attacks themselves.
The FSB has a deserved reputation for fabricating evidence. They did just this in the instance of a supposed border-control shelling of what was little more than a shack, supposedly by Ukraine. The tactic is straight out of the Stalinist playbook – Russia shelled a village on the Finnish border in 1939 to justify an invasion.
The FSB also blamed Chechen separatists for a spate of apartment-building bombings that resulted in more than 300 deaths. Later, citizens living in an apartment building found a sack thought to be explosives. The FSB apologized to the citizens, claiming the sack contained only sugar and it was for an anti-terror exercise.
In short, any FSB claims regarding any case should be taken with a grain of salt.
Expert Biography: Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. A proven military analyst, he served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for 19fortyfive.com and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for PatsFans.com for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.