France asks its citizens to leave Ukraine “without delay”

France became the latest Western country on Wednesday to call on its citizens to leave Ukraine “without delay”, in the middle of the growing fear that Russia is preparing a large-scale attack.

“In the context of the serious tensions caused by the concentration of Russian troops on the borders with Ukraine”, as well as the Russian recognition of two separatist regions and the Ukrainian declaration of a state of emergency, “French citizens who are in Ukraine must leave the country without delay,” the French Foreign Ministry said.

“It is also not advisable to travel to Ukraine until further notice. All travel to the border areas in the north and east of the country is formally discouraged,” the text says.

On Saturday, French diplomacy had “recommended to all French citizens whose stay in Ukraine has no compelling reason to leave the country.”

Tens of thousands of Russian troops are massed near Ukraine’s borders, and the West says they could be used for an offensive at any moment.

Separatist leaders in eastern Ukraine on Wednesday asked Moscow for help to counter the Kiev armyin a movement that opens the door to the deployment of Russian troops in the territory.

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