Southeast European countries urge citizens to leave Ukraine

A Ukrainian soldier patrols the front line, not far from the pro-Russian controlled city of Donetsk, on February 2, 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE/STANISLAV KOZLIUK

Governments across southeastern Europe have urged their citizens to leave Ukraine, fearing the Russian-Ukrainian conflict could escalate. Most of these warnings came over the weekend.

Serbia The Foreign Ministry said Sunday evening that Serbian citizens in Ukraine should “consider the possibility of temporarily leaving the territory of this country.

“We also recommend that citizens of the Republic of Serbia planning to travel to Ukraine consider postponing their trip,” the ministry said on its website.

from Kosovo The Foreign Ministry called on citizens “not to travel to Ukraine and, if they are there, to leave as soon as possible”. Contacts for Kosovar citizens in Ukraine are available here.

On Saturday, Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Romania and Turkey all called on citizens to leave Ukraine or postpone travel there.

Croatia advised its citizens “to avoid traveling to Ukraine, especially along the border with Russia and Belarus and near the dividing line with the temporarily occupied areas of Crimea and Donbass”.

the Slovenian The Foreign Ministry said it believed between 70 and 80 Slovenian citizens were currently in Ukraine. In addition to telling people not to go to Ukraine, or to leave it. Slovenia recommended its citizens to Register online in case of travel or stay in Ukraine.

With similar warnings and recommendations, Albania published means of contact Ukrainian citizens.

Romania The Foreign Ministry said that “in the context of the latest security developments in the vicinity of Ukraine and the Black Sea region… the alert level for Ukraine has been raised”.

It recommends that Romanians in Ukraine “reassess the need to remain on the territory of this state”, and urges those who are considering traveling to Ukraine to avoid doing so for the time being. Contacts for Romanian citizens are available here.

Referring to Russian-held Crimea and eastern areas controlled by pro-Russian forces, the ministry “also strongly recommends avoiding all travel to the Crimean Peninsula and eastern Ukraine, Donetsk and of Lugansk, as well as the Ukrainian border with the Russian Federation and Belarus, recalling that the security situation remains tense and fluid”.

A Ukrainian soldier on the front line, not far from the pro-Russian town of Horlivka, Ukraine, January 31, 2022. Photo: EPA-EFE/STANISLAV KOZLIUK

Moldova The Ministry of Foreign Affairs recommended that citizens “follow in priority the announcements of the authorities and the official information disseminated by credible sources”. He opened a 24/7 phone line for its citizens in Ukraine.

Turkey recommended its citizens “to refrain from traveling to the eastern border regions of Ukraine unless they have to”, and shared contacts at the embassy in Kyiv which can be contacted in case of emergency.

Montenegro, North Macedonia, Bulgaria and Greece all advised their citizens against staying in or traveling to Ukraine on Friday.

Montenegro recommends that its citizens “consider the possibility of temporarily leaving ‘Ukraine’ due to increasing tensions and an unpredictable security situation”. Contacts for citizens residing in Ukraine are available here.

North Macedonia called on citizens “who were planning to travel to Ukraine in the coming period, to avoid traveling to the country; moreover, all our citizens who are currently in Ukraine, if they have the possibility, leave the country as soon as possible”.

He reminded them that they can reach the Embassy in Kyiv using these contacts. Foreign Minister Bujar Osmani said diplomatic staff would stay at the embassy while their families returned home.

Bulgaria called on its citizens to refrain from traveling to Ukraine and urged those already there “to take steps to leave the country with the vehicles currently available”. Bulgaria has also called on Ukrainian citizens to register in line and shared contacts of its local diplomatic representations.

Greece advised its Ukrainian citizens to to stay in contact with the Greek Embassy in kyiv.

Bosnia and Herzegovina urged its citizens “to avoid traveling to regions of Ukraine where, according to the media, there has been a deterioration of the security situation and a concentration of military forces” at the beginning of February.

“For travel to other parts of Ukraine, we advise citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina to postpone unnecessary travel until further notice,” he said. He reminded citizens that Bosnian Embassy in Hungary is responsible for Bosnian nationals in Ukraine.