Poland's Foreign Ministry advises against travel to Ukraine

Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

The Polish Foreign Ministry (MSZ) has warned against any travel to eastern, north-eastern and south-eastern Ukraine, and told any Polish citizens living in those areas to leave.

The warning was posted on Saturday on the MSZ’s official website and twitter account.

The ministry wrote: "Due to the growing tension and the unstable security situation in south-eastern Ukraine, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs advises against all trips to the oblasts of Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Luhansk, Poltava, Sumy, Zaporizhia, Kherson, Mikolayiv, Odessa, the city of Sevastopol and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Those who are in these areas of Ukraine should leave them."

The MSZ also advises against unnecessary journeys to any other parts of Ukraine.

The situation in eastern Ukraine is tense and, according to General Oleksandr Pawluk, the commander of the Joint Armed Forces Operation of Ukraine, it has deteriorated significantly over the last three days. Pawluk reported that as of 1800hrs (1700hrs Polish time) on Saturday separatists in Donbas, supported by Russia, violated the truce 98 times. Two Ukrainians were reported killed and four injured over the course of the day.

The events in Ukraine are being monitored by the Polish authorities. Stanislaw Zaryn, director of the National Security Department, wrote on Twitter on Saturday evening that "Russia is carrying out activities that are to create a pretext for an invasion against Ukraine."

"This will allow the Kremlin to avoid being seen as an aggressor. This is a typical modus operandi in Moscow's actions against other countries. The coming hours and days may get hot," Zaryn warned.

Deputy head of the MSZ Pawel Jablonski, when asked about the Polish diplomatic mission in Kyiv, said that "our diplomats remain in place".

"We remain in place both in Kyiv and in our five consulates in Ukraine, to provide support to Polish citizens who are there, but also to support Ukraine, because we believe that support for Ukraine in this situation is our raison d'etat, this is our duty as the Western world," Jablonski told a Polsat News private television programme on Sunday.

"We have committed ourselves to guarantee Ukraine the inviolability of its territory and its independence. This is a question of our security and we hope that the entire Western world will support Ukraine in solidarity and will deter Russia from this escalation," added the deputy head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.