The United States was evacuating State Department personnel from Ukraine on Monday over security concerns, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway ‘republics’ in the east from the country.
Driving the news: Last week, the United States moved embassy operations from Kyiv to Lviv in western Ukraine. Blinken said he was “again taking steps for the safety and security of American citizens, including our personnel.” “For security reasons, State Department personnel currently in Lviv will spend the night in Poland,” he added in his statement.
- Putin’s actions on Monday, including ordering Russian troops to carry out operations in occupied Ukrainian territories, marked “a major escalation” in the crisis and “another indication that Russia seeks war, not diplomacy”, he said. a State Department spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
- The United States and its allies were “committed to finding a diplomatic solution” in the coming hours, however, “diplomacy can only succeed if Russia changes course,” the spokesperson added, as the Council of UN Security was preparing to hold an emergency meeting on the matter.
What he says : “Our staff will return regularly to continue their diplomatic work in Ukraine and provide emergency consular services. They will continue to support the Ukrainian people and the Ukrainian government, coordinating diplomatic efforts,” Blinken said.
- He urged U.S. citizens to leave Ukraine “immediately” as the security situation “continues to be unpredictable across the country and may deteriorate without notice.”
- “It is highly likely that any Russian military operation would severely restrict commercial air travel,” Blinken added. “Russian troops have continued to close in on the border in what looks like anytime invasion plans.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with comments from Blinken and a State Department spokesperson.