NATO staff in Kyiv have been relocated to both Lviv, Ukraine — situated in the western region of the country — and the Belgian capital of Brussels, a NATO official confirmed to The Hill.
“NATO and allied countries are monitoring and assessing the situation very closely, and continue to take all the necessary measures. The safety of our personnel is paramount, so staff have been relocated to Lviv and Brussels,” the NATO official said in a statement. “The NATO offices in Ukraine remain operational. We continue to call on Russia to de-escalate and choose the path of diplomacy.”
It was not immediately clear how many people were relocated or how many were being relocated to each city.
However, NATO staff are not the only ones operating from Lviv; the British government, in a statement on foreign travel advice, said that it would be relocating its own embassy staff from Kyiv to Lviv.
“The British Embassy office in Kyiv is temporarily relocating. Embassy staff are operating from the British Embassy office in Lviv,” the government said in a statement.
Officials estimate that up to 190,000 Russian troops have now been amassed near the Ukrainian border, and President Biden announced on Friday that he now believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has made up his mind to invade Ukraine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Monday said that the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv would be closing as officials witnessed heightened military buildup near the Ukrainian border.
“We also continue our sincere efforts to reach a diplomatic solution, and we remain engaged with the Russian government following President Biden’s call with President Putin and my discussion with Foreign Minister Lavrov,” Blinken said in a statement. “The path for diplomacy remains available if Russia chooses to engage in good faith. We look forward to returning our staff to the Embassy as soon as conditions permit.”