US diplomats arrive in Kyiv ahead of resumption of embassy operations
U.S. diplomats are beginning to arrive in Kyiv as America prepares to restart embassy operations in the Ukrainian capital city for the first time since Russia began its invasion.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba during a phone call on Sunday that a small group of diplomats, in addition to State Department security, took a trip to the embassy in Kyiv to prepare for its resumption of operations.
“The Secretary informed Foreign Minister Kuleba that our Charge d’Affaires Kristina Kvien and a small group of diplomats, accompanied by State Department security, traveled to Kyiv to conduct diplomatic engagement in advance of the planned resumption of Embassy Kyiv operations, as the Secretary pledged to President Zelenskyy they would during his most recent visit to Kyiv,” State Department spokesman Ned Price wrote in a readout of the call.
The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv announced on Twitter on Sunday that Kvien had arrived in Kyiv.
“Just arrived in Kyiv! Delighted to be back on Victory in Europe Day. Slava Ukraini! We #standwithUkraine,” the tweet from the embassy reads.
The return of diplomats to the embassy in Ukraine’s capital city comes after the U.S. suspended embassy operations in Ukraine in February as Russia’s invasion was just beginning. The U.S. had initially moved operations from Kyiv to the western city of Lviv before relocating to Poland.
Last month, Blinken told reporters that American diplomats would return to Ukraine and “then start the process of looking at how we actually reopen the embassy itself in Kyiv.”
“I think that will take place over a couple of weeks, would be my expectation. We’re doing it deliberately, we’re doing it carefully, we’re doing it with the security of our personnel foremost in mind, but we’re doing it,” Blinken added.
The announcement came following a visit by Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Blinken on Sunday also spoke to Kuleba about additional aid the U.S. will send to Ukraine to help bolster its defense against Russia’s invasion. President Biden late last month asked Congress to authorize $33 billion worth of additional security, economic and humanitarian assistance to support Ukraine.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday said the lower chamber could vote on the Ukrainian aid legislation as soon as this coming week.
“The Secretary emphasized the United States’ enduring commitment to Ukraine and its ultimate victory against Russian aggression,” Price said in the readout.
Blinken also commemorated Ukraine’s Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation, which marks the anniversary of World War II ending in Europe.
“Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke by phone today with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba to commemorate Ukraine’s Day of Remembrance and Reconciliation to recognize the sacrifices of those lost in World War II,” Price said.
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