Biden Shakes Up Diplomatic Presence in Ukraine Amid Russian Buildup

Secretary of State Antony Blinken / Reuters
February 14, 2022

WASHINGTON (Reuters)—The United States is relocating its embassy operations in Ukraine from the capital Kyiv to the western city of Lviv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday, citing the "dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces."

The move comes as U.S. officials warn Moscow could launch an attack on Ukraine, including on Kyiv, any day, after amassing more than 100,000 troops close to the eastern border of the former Soviet republic and more forces in Belarus to the north.

Blinken said in a statement the decision was taken out of concern for the safety of embassy staff. Most embassy staff have already been ordered to depart Ukraine and U.S. citizens have been advised to leave the country.

"My team and I constantly review the security situation to determine when prudence dictates a change in posture," Blinken said, adding that Washington would continue working for a diplomatic solution to the tensions.

Embassy operations were being temporarily moved to Lviv -- roughly 50 miles from Ukraine's western border with Poland -- but the embassy would remain engaged with the Ukrainian government in Kyiv, Blinken said

(Reporting by Simon Lewis and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Chris Reese and Chizu Nomiyama)