Secretary of State Blinken on US Embassy Kyiv Operations /February 14, 2022 via state.gov:
“I have no higher priority than the safety and security of Americans around the world, and that, of course, includes our colleagues serving at our posts overseas. My team and I constantly review the security situation to determine when prudence dictates a change in posture. 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. The Embassy will remain engaged with the Ukrainian government, coordinating diplomatic engagement in Ukraine. We are also continuing our intensive diplomatic efforts to deescalate the crisis.
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. We also continue our sincere efforts to reach a diplomatic solution, and we remain engaged with the Russian government following President Biden’s call with President Putin and my discussion with Foreign Minister Lavrov. The path for diplomacy remains available if Russia chooses to engage in good faith. We look forward to returning our staff to the Embassy as soon as conditions permit.
In the meantime, I have ordered these measures for one reason — the safety of our staff — and we strongly urge any remaining U.S. citizens in Ukraine to leave the country immediately. U.S. citizens seeking emergency assistance in Ukraine should complete this online form, and the State Department will follow-up, as appropriate.”
WSJ reports that the State Department “ordered the destruction of networking equipment and computer workstations and the dismantling of the embassy telephone system” citing U.S. officials familiar with the matter and internal communications reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “Those moves render the Kyiv embassy inoperable as a diplomatic facility.”
Remember that photo we posted about the closure of US Embassy Tripoli as they prepared to evacuate post in 2011? (see Photo of the Day: Sledgehammer Workout, No Joke). That’s that.
— Gordon Lubold (@glubold) February 14, 2022
The U.S. says it's closing its embassy in Ukraine and moving remaining staffers to a city near the Polish border amid growing tensions with Russia. The Kremlin signaled it's ready to keep talking with the West as its troops mass on the Ukraine border. https://t.co/6PwgXsOzaj
— The Associated Press (@AP) February 14, 2022
Western intel now says (more) Russian mercs are in Ukraine: "Among those deployed in recent weeks was a former GRU officer who also worked in the Wagner mercenary group. The former officer has gone to Donetsk…": https://t.co/KXJsEnKWfc
— Michael Weiss (@michaeldweiss) February 14, 2022
In case you were feeling reassured by Kremlin messaging today, Russia's ambassador to the EU tells us:
“We will not invade Ukraine unless we are provoked… .If the Ukrainians launch attack against Russia, you shouldn’t be surprised if we counterattack."https://t.co/7TCr41k2x2
— Shaun Walker (@shaunwalker7) February 14, 2022