Around 50 Irish people have registered with the Irish Embassy in Ukraine amid official calls for them to leave “immediately” due to concerns that war could start any day now.
The Irish Government said there had been “intensive consultations” between Dublin, diplomatic staff in Kiev and with other European countries. As it result, they had concluded:
"We advise against all travel to Ukraine and ask citizens currently in Ukraine to leave immediately by commercial means."
"Any Irish citizens requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Department of Foreign Affairs at +353-1-4082000."
For the time being the Irish Embassy will remain open "with a small number of essential staff remaining".
— Irish Foreign Ministry (@dfatirl) February 11, 2022
However, a small number of Irish people have informed officials that they intend to travel to Ukraine for medical reasons. Among them are the parents of unborn Irish children with Ukrainian surrogate mothers.
Russia is 'pretty much ready' for war
Last week, US officials claimed that Russia was 70% ready to launch an invasion of Ukraine, insisting that the Kremlin might fabricate a propaganda video showing Russia being attacked as a pretext for invasion.
Moscow has described western accusations as “hysteria”. However, on Saturday Ukraine-based journalist Euan MacDonald told Newstalk that Russia is now “pretty much ready”.
“Everything is in place,” he said.
“There’s been reports of field hospitals even being spotted at airfields near Ukraine. So that’s a bad sign. Lots of signs of logistics, of fuel tankers moving around - especially in Belarus.
“And notably, the Ukrainian authorities have been a bit more sombre recently, saying the situation does look quite serious.”
Despite this, he added that, for many Ukrainians, their primary emotion was defiance:
“Among Ukrainians, I wouldn’t say people are panicking, people are concerned.
“There’s a lot of, I wouldn’t say there’s a lot of bravado, but people are saying that they’re prepared to fight, they won’t leave and they’re not intimidated by Russia’s threats.”
Main image: Lviv, Ukraine, across the borders of a barracks of the Ukrainian army. Picture by: Alamy.com