View of the US Embassy in Kyiv. Photo: Andrew Kravchenko
Washington: The US government has already reduced the number of its embassy staff in Kyiv due to the escalation of the Ukraine crisis. Now the work of the diplomatic mission near the Polish border is being moved – for security reasons.
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 Kyiv 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.” “Precautions” will in no way undermine US support for Ukraine. Our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering.”
The US State Department had already said on Saturday that the number of embassy staff in Kyiv would be reduced “to an 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 Kyiv 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. Blinkin emphasized that the only reason for the diplomats’ relocation 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.”
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 this to happen with little or no warning,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said Monday on CNN, referring to a possible Russian attack. Asked about the possibility of an invasion, Kirby said, referring to Russian President 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. Putin also had an “impressive arsenal of military capabilities” should he decide to launch an 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. “We will not be sending US forces to Ukraine to fight,” Kirby reiterated. But Russia must reckon with harsh economic sanctions. NATO will be united in the crisis.
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