Australia tells immediate family of embassy staff to depart Ukraine

By Jackson Graham

January 25, 2022

Marise Payne
Foreign minister Marise Payne. (AAP Image/Mick Tsikas)

Australia has directed dependents of embassy staff in Ukraine’s capital to leave the country, as fears of an armed conflict with Russia escalate. 

The Department of Foreign Affairs raised its advice for Ukraine to “do not travel” on Monday night.

DFAT told Australians in Ukraine they “should leave now by commercial means if it’s safe to do so” while urging them to register their whereabouts with the department. 

Australian foreign affairs minister Marise Payne said on Tuesday morning that about 1400 Australians are in Ukraine. 

Payne said the government had taken “a cautious and prudent step” to advise Australians to depart the country because the security situation is unpredictable. 

“I would describe this more as a case of consulting with like-minded counterparts in Kiev,” she told ABC RN Breakfast

“We have been doing that with the United States, with Canada with the United Kingdom. And it is important that we are working together.” 

The US and UK have released similar advice to families of diplomatic staff but Ukrainian officials have called the moves “premature”. 

Payne said she understood this view but said the government was putting safety first. 

“My role and our role as the government is to ensure that we are protecting the dependents of our Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and other government agency staff and ensuring Australians are taking steps to protect themselves,” she said. 

The tensions have escalated amid Russia demanding that Ukraine, a former Soviet republic, never be allowed to join NATO but the US and NATO have rejected this demand.


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