US relocates Ukraine embassy staff to Poland
Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Monday that the State Department would be relocating its embassy operations to Poland from Ukraine amid a possible invasion by Russia.
“For security reasons, Department of State personnel currently in Lviv will spend the night in Poland. Our personnel will regularly return to continue their diplomatic work in Ukraine and provide emergency consular services,” Blinken said in a statement, adding that the U.S. commitment to Ukraine remained “unwavering.”
“The fact that we are taking prudent precautions for the sake of the safety of U.S. government personnel and U.S. citizens, as we do regularly worldwide, in no way undermines our support for, or our commitment to, Ukraine,” the secretary of State’s statement added.
Monday’s announcement comes after Blinken’s decision last week to temporarily relocate the embassy’s operations from Ukraine’s capital city Kyiv to Lviv, a city in western Ukraine farther from Russia’s border.
But on Monday, tensions escalated after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic and Luhansk People’s Republic as independent, a move that seemingly indicated a rejection of diplomatic efforts to avoid an invasion.
Following that decision, Putin ordered his defense ministry to send forces to maintain peace in the two regions located in eastern Ukraine near Russia.
In response to Putin’s announcement on Monday, the White House announced that President Biden intended to impose sanctions that would prohibit new U.S. investment, trade and financing from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The U.S. has warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could happen at any time, as Moscow has amassed as many as 190,000 troops near Ukraine.
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