The Dutch airline KLM has cancelled all flights between the Netherlands and Ukraine, as the Dutch government labels the country as too dangerous for travel and adjusts the travel advice from orange to red.
Dutch government says Ukraine is too dangerous for travel
In a statement published on Saturday, Dutch Foreign Minister, Wopke Hoekstra advised “all Dutch people to leave Ukraine,” explaining that the situation has “deteriorated further and further in recent days” and announcing that travel advice for the country had been put on red, meaning it is too dangerous for travel. The majority of Dutch diplomats and embassy personnel are also expected to vacate the country as soon as possible.
The government has also advised any Dutch citizens who remain in Ukraine to register with the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s information centre. The Ministry has also made it clear that anyone who chooses to travel to Ukraine under the current conditions will be responsible for their safety and travel plans: “The Ministry… [probably] won’t be able to help you if you encounter any issues.”
KLM cancels all flights between the Netherlands and Ukraine
Following the government’s decision to label Ukraine as too dangerous for travel, KLM announced on Saturday that it was immediately ceasing all flights between the Netherlands and Ukraine. While Ukrainian airspace remains open, Dutch flights will no longer fly over the country.
Hoekstra and KLM have emphasised that, while the local embassy will help where possible, it is “the responsibility of the Dutch themselves to leave.”
It is not yet clear when KLM will resume flights to Kyiv, but the airline has said it continues to prioritise the safety of its passengers and staff. Normally, KLM runs two flights between Schiphol Airport and Kyiv every day.
Russia adamant there is no risk of invasion
The Netherlands is not the first country to advise all citizens to flee Ukraine, with many European nations asking their citizens to leave. Local officials have encouraged all Ukrainian residents and nationals to remain calm. “Panic is now the worst enemy,” President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
Meanwhile, mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko, has called for international support: “We are prepared for the worst in Ukraine, the world must help us now,” Klitschko told German newspaper Bild am Sonntag. “We are just the beginning,” he warned.
US officials have claimed that “the latest intelligence” shows a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen sooner than expected, but the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Lavrov has said that the fear of a Russian invasion is a Western “propaganda campaign.” During a lengthy phone call on Saturday evening, President Joe Biden is said to have informed Putin that America and its allies “will react decisively” if Russia should invade.