“The safety of our staff – I have ordered these actions for a reason, and we strongly urge the remaining US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately,” Blinken said in a statement.
“These prudent precautions will not in any way undermine our support or commitment to Ukraine. Our commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity is unshakable,” he said. “We are also pursuing our sincere efforts to reach a diplomatic solution, and we will continue to engage with the Russian government following President Biden’s call with President Putin and my discussions with Foreign Minister Lavrov.”
“If Russia chooses to engage in good faith, the path to diplomacy will be paved. We look forward to sending our staff back to the embassy as soon as conditions allow,” Blingen added.
U.S. officials have repeatedly called on U.S. citizens to leave Ukraine immediately, warning of a possible Russian invasion at any time, including this week.
“What we are trying to do in public is to make it clear to American citizens that they must leave Ukraine immediately because there will be no military withdrawal in the event of an invasion,” National Security Adviser Jack Sullivan told CNN’s State of the Union. “Sunday.
“And we are trying to get the Ukrainians ready and prepared for this, as well as to coordinate with our NATO allies and partners so that we can protect NATO territory and prevent Russian aggression on Ukraine,” he added.
At a press conference on Saturday, a senior foreign ministry official said, “We plan to maintain the key functions of our embassy with as few people as possible.” The official said US diplomats had recently removed classified information in preparation for the embassy cuts.
Concerns about the security of US diplomats have increased in recent days, especially as Biden executives say Russia could launch its invasion with aerial bombardment and missiles, which could blindly kill civilians. Kiev is only two hours from the Ukraine-Belarus border, where Russia has continued to build up its troop presence.