State Department advises U.S. citizens to leave Belarus immediately

August 22, 2023

The U.S. State Department is urging citizens in Belarus to leave the country immediately and is warning against Americans traveling there.

The updated alert, coming out of the U.S. Embassy in Minsk, says, “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.”

It goes on to say, “U.S. citizens in Belarus should depart immediately.” It advises Americans to consider departing via the border crossings at Lithuania or Latvia, as U.S. citizens are not permitted to enter Poland overland from Belarus.

Last week, Lithuania closed two of its six border crossings with Belarus. The State Department is urging Americans to travel through one of the remaining open crossings.

Latvia and Poland have meanwhile increased troop presence at their borders with Belarus. 

“Do not travel to Russia or to Ukraine,” the State Department advisory also warns. 

Belarus is Russia’s closest ally in its war against Ukraine, and it’s under a swath of U.S. sanctions for its support of the Russian invasion, as well as for human rights abuses and political repression against its own people.

The U.S. mission in Belarus has also been scaled down. It currently only handles emergency American Citizen Services.

PHOTO: Victory square in Minsk, Belarus

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