Mixed Message? State Dept. warns against Ukraine travel, promotes Ukraine travel

Just three days after the State Department issued a travel warning for Ukraine, it began promoting a campaign urging Americans to visit the country, prompting confusion and concern from some foreign policy observers.

The State Department issued a Ukraine travel warning on March 21 warning "U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to Ukraine and to defer all travel to the Crimean Peninsula and eastern regions of Kharkiv, Donetsk, and Lugansk due to the presence of Russian military forces in the Crimean Peninsula, and in Russia near the Ukrainian border."

Three days after that warning was issued the State Department's official Twitterfeed disseminated an official video promoting travel to Ukraine and arguing that all is safe for tourists.

"Disinformation: Kyiv is a burned out battle ground filled with rampaging lawless groups," wrote a caption on the video, which was posted by the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. "Fact: The effects of the Maidan confrontation are extremely localized, relegated to three or four streets in the center of the city."

The video struck some foreign policy observers as confusing given the sharp contrast between the two messages.

State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf told the Free Beacon that the video is an effort to combat "Kremlin propaganda" that aims to distort the situation in Ukraine and mislead the international community.

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