Washington. Due to the extremely tense situation in the Ukraine conflict, the United States is moving the business of its embassy from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev to the city of Lviv (Limberg) near the border with Poland. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said this was a temporary precaution. The US Embassy will continue to work with the Ukrainian government.
“We are also continuing our intensive diplomatic efforts to de-escalate the crisis,” he added. In no way will the “precautionary measures” undermine US support for Ukraine. Our commitment to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine is unwavering.”
Reducing the number of US embassy staff
On Saturday, the US State Department had already said that the number of embassy staff in Kiev would be reduced “to the absolute minimum”. A small number of employees will be transferred to Lviv in the west of the country. In the city near the Polish border, consular services will still be offered for emergencies. The US State Department had already ordered the diplomats’ families to leave the US embassy in Kiev at the end of January. It was also said at the time that employees who were not immediately needed could leave the country voluntarily.
In a letter on Monday, Blinken again called on US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country. “We urge all US citizens remaining in Ukraine to leave the country immediately.” Blinken emphasized that the only reason for the diplomats’ move to Lviv was concern for the safety of staff. “For me, there is no higher priority than the safety of Americans around the world, and of course that includes our colleagues.”
US government warns of Russian invasion
The US government warned weeks ago of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine as the drama grew. “I think we all have to be prepared for what might happen with or without warning,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby told CNN Monday of a possible Russian attack. When asked about the possibility of an invasion, referring to the Russian president, Kirby replied, Vladimir Putin, “I think only Mr. Putin knows the answer to that.”
Kirby said Putin continued to build up troops in the border region with Ukraine over the weekend. The number of Russian soldiers has now exceeded 100,000, and Putin also had an “impressive arsenal of military skills” should he decide to attack.
Kirby said the United States still had a “small military presence” in the country linked to the continued presence of American diplomats. In addition to the State Department’s security forces, Marines are deployed to protect US embassies around the world. Kirby reiterated, “We will not send US forces to Ukraine to fight.” But Russia should expect harsh economic sanctions. NATO will be united in the crisis.
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