The U.S. Embassy in Minsk, Belarus, has issued a new advisory for U.S. citizens in the country to get out as soon as possible as neighboring NATO-allied nations have begun cutting off contact with the Russian-allied eastern European state.
“U.S. citizens in Belarus should depart immediately,” a warning message from the U.S. Embassy in Minsk reads. “Consider departing via the remaining border crossings with Lithuania and Latvia, or by plane. U.S. citizens are not permitted to enter Poland overland from Belarus. Do not travel to Russia or to Ukraine.”
The risk of Americans becoming stuck in Belarus is particularly high, given that the country borders Ukraine to the north and has supported Russian forces in invading that country.
“Do not travel to Belarus 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 U.S. citizens residing in or traveling to Belarus,” the U.S. Embassy wrote in a travel advisory.
Americans who choose to travel to Belarus or remain in the country despite the embassy’s warnings have been advised to keep their passports and other travel documents with them at all times and have a contingency plan that does not rely on U.S. government assistance. They have also been advised to avoid known high-risk areas and to monitor local and international news for major updates.
Tensions Mount Between NATO and the Russian AllyThe U.S. Embassy in Minsk has been warning Americans to avoid Belarus since early 2022, noting the Russian invasion of neighboring Ukraine. The recent closings at Belarusian border crossings prompted Monday’s latest warning message from the embassy.
Belarus has found itself at odds with its NATO neighbors since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. While Belarus has been supportive of the Russian side in the conflict, NATO has channeled billions of dollars in weapons to the Ukrainian side.
The tensions between Belarus and its NATO neighbors have taken on a new dimension in recent weeks.
The diplomatic strain between NATO-allied nations and Belarus comes amid concerns that the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine, and extensive NATO support for the Ukrainian side could feed into a broader conflict between NATO and Russia and its allies.