U.S. shifting Ukraine embassy from Kyiv to Lviv amid Russian buildup By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks throughout a joint press availability with South Korean Overseas Minister Chung Eui-yong and Japanese Overseas Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi following their assembly in Honolulu, Hawaii February 12, 2022. R

By Simon Lewis and Jonathan Landay

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The USA is relocating its Ukraine embassy operations from the capital Kyiv to the western metropolis of Lviv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken mentioned on Monday, citing a “dramatic acceleration within the buildup of Russian forces.”

The transfer comes as U.S. officers warned that Moscow was persevering with to amass greater than 100,000 troops close to Russia’s border with Ukraine and in neighboring Belarus, and will at any time launch a devastating assault, together with on Kyiv. Moscow denies Western accusations that it’s planning an invasion.

“An incursion into Ukraine may entail large violence, large destruction, and the lack of life wouldn’t discriminate between People, Ukrainians” or others, State Division spokesman Ned Worth advised a information briefing.

Blinken mentioned in a press release that the choice to maneuver the embassy operations to Lviv – roughly 50 miles (80 km) from Ukraine’s western border with Poland – was taken out of concern for the protection of the workers.

Most embassy workers have already been ordered to depart Ukraine and U.S. residents have been suggested to depart the nation by industrial means.

Blinken mentioned that relocating the embassy operations “by no means” undermined U.S. help for Ukraine’s “sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and that U.S. diplomats would “stay engaged” with the Ukrainian authorities.

The USA is continuous to press Moscow for a diplomatic decision, he mentioned.

Worth, nevertheless, advised reporters that it was “unclear to us whether or not Russia is focused on… pursuing a diplomatic course.”

Washington, he mentioned, took observe of feedback that Russian Overseas Minister Sergei Lavrov made in a televised assembly with Russian President Vladimir Putin that Moscow would press on with diplomatic efforts to extract safety ensures from the West.

“What now we have not taken observe of is any indication of de-escalation” by Russian forces, Worth continued.

Relocating the embassy operations, he mentioned, was based mostly on an evaluation “of what we’re seeing on the bottom with our personal eyes, which is a continued and unprovoked Russian buildup.”

“It’s a distinct risk, maybe extra actual than ever earlier than, that Russia could determine to proceed with army motion,” he mentioned.

The highest U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, Cost d’Affaires Kristina Kvien, will work from Lviv, and the U.S. mission in Kyiv might be protected by Ukrainian Nationwide Guard Police, he mentioned.

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