WASHINGTON, February 13. /TASS/. A core team of US embassy staff will remain in Ukraine despite the evacuation of the majority of its staff, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Saturday at a news conference in Honolulu.
“Yesterday we ordered the departure of most Americans still at the US Embassy in Kyiv. The risk of Russian military action is high enough and the threat is imminent enough that it is the most important thing. prudent to do,” he said, noting that “A core team will remain in Ukraine with our dedicated Ukrainian colleagues as we continue to work tirelessly to resolve this crisis through deterrence and diplomacy.”
Earlier, the US State Department had ordered most embassy staff to leave Ukraine immediately due to the threat of a Russian invasion, saying it looked increasingly likely that the situation was heading towards “a kind of active conflict”. As a senior official of the US administration explained on Saturday, the evacuation of the majority of employees does not mean the closure of the embassy. The official pointed out that the US Embassy in Kyiv was suspending most of its consular services while some emergency consular services would be provided in Lvov.
Lately, claims of a possible Russian “invasion” of Ukraine have increasingly been echoed in Ukraine and the West. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the reports an “empty and baseless” escalation of tensions, stressing that Russia posed no threat to anyone. That said, he did not rule out the possibility that provocations were fomented to justify such claims and warned that attempts to solve the problem in south-eastern Ukraine through the use of force would have the most more serious.