U.S. embassy in Kyiv to relocate over 'dramatic acceleration' in Russian troop buildup
The Biden administration is continuing "intensive diplomatic efforts to deescalate the crisis," the Secretary of State said.
The U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced Monday that the U.S. embassy in Kyiv will relocate to Lviv in western Ukraine "due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces."
"These prudent precautions in no way undermine our support for or our commitment to Ukraine. Our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unwavering," Blinken said, defending the move in a press release.
Last week the State Department told U.S. citizens in Ukraine to "depart now via commercial or private means" and stressed that "the U.S. government will not be able to evacuate U.S. citizens in the event of Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine."
The families of U.S. diplomats were ordered to evacuate Ukraine late last month and other employees were given authorization to voluntarily leave.
Blinken said the Biden administration is continuing "intensive diplomatic efforts to deescalate the crisis."
U.S. President Joe Biden spoke with both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Russian leader Vladimir Putin over the weekend as about 100,000 Russian troops are stationed on the border with Ukraine.
"My team and I constantly review the security situation to determine when prudence dictates a change in posture," Blinken said. "With that in mind, we are in the process of temporarily relocating our Embassy operations in Ukraine from our Embassy in Kyiv to Lviv due to the dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces."
Blinken again stated: "[W]e strongly urge any remaining U.S. citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately."
Blinken spoke with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Monday and said he "reiterated the U.S. will continue to support Ukraine against all forms of Russian aggression, including key financial assistance packages."