US to Citizens: Get Out of Belarus Now

Border crossings are being closed amid growing tensions with neighbors
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2023 3:19 PM CDT
US to Citizens: Get Out of Belarus Now
Polish servicemen attend a press conference given by Poland's Minister of Defense, Mariusz Blaszczak, in Jarylowka, Poland, Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023.   (AP Photo/Michal Dyjuk)

American citizens in Belarus have been told to get out of the country as soon as possible. In an alert issued Monday, the State Department classed the country as a Level 4 security risk, the highest on the scale, the Hill reports. Last week, Lithuania closed two of its six border crossings with Belarus amid growing tensions, reports the AP. Officials said some of the estimated 4,500 Wagner Group fighters in Belarus are stationed near the country's borders with Poland and Lithuania. Poland currently has one border crossing with Belarus open, while Latvia has two. "The Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian governments have stated that further closures of border crossings with Belarus are possible," Monday's alert said.

"US citizens in Belarus should depart immediately. Consider departing via the remaining border crossings with Lithuania and Latvia, or by plane," the alert stated, noting that American citizens aren't allowed to travel to Poland overland from Belarus—and shouldn't travel from Belarus to Ukraine or Russia. Americans considering traveling to Belarus should stay away "due to Belarusian authorities' continued facilitation of Russia's unprovoked attack on Ukraine, the buildup of Russian military forces in Belarus, the arbitrary enforcement of local laws, the potential of civil unrest, the risk of detention, and the Embassy's limited ability to assist US citizens residing in or traveling to Belarus," the alert said. (Read more Belarus stories.)

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