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LDS missionaries moved out of Ukraine as tensions mount with Russia in eastern Europe

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Salt Lake City Utah Latter-day Saint LDS Mormon temple Angel Moroni statue
Posted at 2:22 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 01:03:35-05

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has moved its missionaries out of Ukraine as Russia continues to build up military forces on the country's border.

According to a news release Monday, the decision was made out of an abundance of caution, as some government embassies in Ukraine are preparing to move certain personnel and their family members.

Analysis: Crisis in Ukraine a showdown of two world views

The U.S. Embassy and American personnel families in Kyiv were ordered on Sunday by the State Department to leave the country.

"Many of these missionaries are being reassigned to missions in Europe, and a few missionaries who are approaching their planned release date will complete their missionary service and return home," said LDS Media Relations Manager Sam Penrod. "Missionaries who have recently been called to Ukraine will receive a temporary assignment elsewhere. Some missionaries will serve in Moldova, which is away from any potential conflict areas."

The announcement comes at the same time the Pentagon announced 8,500 troops were being put on heightened alert, so they will be prepared to deploy if needed to reassure NATO allies in the face of ongoing Russian aggression on the border of Ukraine.

NATO sends military resources east after Ireland complains of Russian drills

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said Monday no final decisions have been made on deployments.

He said the order is about ensuring that the U.S. is ready to respond if NATO decides to deploy its response force.