The United States moved operations from its Ukrainian embassy to neighboring Poland overnight amid the buildup of Russian military assets around Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s fiery speech saying he wanted to redraw the borders of the region.
“For security reasons, State Department personnel currently in Lviv will spend the night in Poland,” Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement late Monday. “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 went on to say that the decision did not undermine the United States’ position on Ukrainian sovereignty, which remained “unwavering” in the face of the threat of a Russian incursion.
“The fact that we take careful precautions for the safety of U.S. government personnel and U.S. citizens, as we routinely do around the world, in no way undermines our support or commitment to Ukraine,” he said. -he declares. “Our commitment to Ukraine transcends any location.”
The United States temporarily moved its Ukrainian embassy from Kyiv to Lviv last week, citing “the dramatic acceleration in the build-up of Russian forces.” Many non-essential embassy staff had already been ordered to leave the country, but key diplomats remained.
The State Department has urged U.S. citizens to leave the country, and Blinken stressed Monday that any military operation could hamper commercial air travel and threaten the safety of anyone, regardless of nationality.
Those threats only grew on Monday after Putin ordered the Russian Defense Ministry to send troops to two separatist territories in Ukraine, escalating the conflict while claiming the military moves were operating within “security functions”. maintain the peace”. The move prompted an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, and the Biden administration said it would impose sanctions on the breakaway regions, but not on Russia for now.
The United States has warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen at any time, although world leaders have called for last-minute diplomatic solutions.