US moving embassy out of Ukraine on threat from Russia

Alberto Nardelli and Jennifer Jacobs
Bloomberg News

Washington – The U.S. is moving its embassy out of Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two separatist regions in the eastern part of the country, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The U.S. is temporarily moving all State Department personnel out of Ukraine to Poland for security reasons, according to the person speaking on condition of anonymity. Biden officials intend for the personnel to return tomorrow morning if there is no invasion by Russia, the person said.

Ukrainian border guard officers patrol the Ukrainian-Belarusian state border at a checkpoint in Novi Yarylovychi, Ukraine, Monday, Feb.21, 2022.(AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

Spokespeople for the State Department and the National Security Council declined to comment. Russia denies it intends to invade.

The embassy had previously relocated from Kyiv to the western city of Lviv. The Biden administration has also told non-essential embassy staff and U.S. citizens to leave Ukraine.

Several other countries have moved their embassies and issued travel alerts warning their citizens to not travel to Ukraine, following U.S. assessments that Russia could be planning to invade Ukraine imminently.

The flurry of activity and last-minute diplomacy comes as Putin signed a decree officially recognizing two self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine, a move that likely torpedoes European-mediated peace talks and further escalates tensions with the West.

Biden said last week that he believed the Russian president had made a decision to invade Ukraine.