US Embassy Moscow Now on “Authorized Departure” For Non-Emergency Staff and USG Family Members


On February 28, 2022, the State Department also announced the US Embassy Moscow is now under an “authorized departure” order for non-emergency staff and USG family members.

The U.S. Department of State has suspended operations at our Embassy in Minsk, Belarus and authorized the voluntary departure (“authorized departure”) of non-emergency employees and family members at our Embassy in Moscow, Russia. We took these steps due to security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine. The Department of State continually adjusts its posture at embassies and consulates throughout the world in line with its mission, the local security environment, and the health situation. We ultimately have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens, and that includes our U.S. government personnel and their dependents serving around the world.

Also on February 28, the State Department issued an updated Level 4-Do Not Travel Advisory for Russia citing the Russian military forces attack in Ukraine, the potential harassment of American citizens, and limited flights out of the country among other things, and urge their departure from Russia while commercial flights are still available.

Do not travel to Russia due to the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, the potential for harassment against U.S. citizens by Russian government security officials, the embassy’s limited ability to assist U.S. citizens in Russia, COVID-19 and related entry restrictions, terrorism, limited flights into and out of Russia, and the arbitrary enforcement of local law.  U.S. citizens should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available.

Due to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine, an increasing number of airlines are cancelling flights into and out of Russia, and numerous countries have closed their airspace to Russian airlines.  In addition, air space around southern Russia is restricted and a number of airports in the area have closed.  U.S. citizens located in or considering travel to the districts of the Russian Federation immediately bordering Ukraine should be aware that the situation along the border is dangerous and unpredictable. 

Given the ongoing armed conflict, U.S. citizens are strongly advised against traveling by land from Russia to Ukraine.  In addition, there is the potential throughout Russia of harassment towards foreigners, including through regulations targeted specifically against foreigners.  Given the ongoing armed conflict and the potentially significant impact on international travel options, U.S. citizens should consider departing Russia immediately via commercial options still available.

The Advisory notes that the embassy’s ability to provide routine or emergency assistance to Americans is severely limited, as well as the voluntary evacuation of non-emergency personnel and USG family members from the country:

The U.S. government’s ability to provide routine or emergency services to U.S. citizens in Russia is severely limited, particularly in areas far from the U.S. Embassy in Moscow due to Russian government limitations on U.S. staffing and travel, and the ongoing suspensions of operations, including consular services, at U.S. consulates.

On February 28, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of eligible family members and non-emergency personnel from U.S. Embassy Moscow.

Also on February 28, @USUN Spokesperson Olivia Dalton issued a statement on the expulsion of 12 Russians reportedly intelligence operatives at the Russian Mission at the United Nations for “engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security:”

The United States has informed the United Nations and the Russian Permanent Mission to the United Nations that we are beginning the process of expelling twelve intelligence operatives from the Russian Mission who have abused their privileges of residency in the United States by engaging in espionage activities that are adverse to our national security. We are taking this action in accordance with the UN Headquarters Agreement. This action has been in development for several months.


Chris Lu to be Representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform

The fundraising campaign is closer to its goal today than yesterday, but it’s not quite there yet. We are grateful to the more than 450 donors who have supported our annual fundraising to-date. We will not run an indefinite campaign, just a few weeks out of the year.  Help us meet our goal so we can get back to our regular blogging programming without plugging our fundraising. If you are able to help, please pitch in at GFM: Thanks – DS


On April 27, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Chris Lu to be the Representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform, with the Rank of Ambassador. The WH released the following brief bio:

Chris Lu, Nominee for Representative to the United Nations for Management and Reform, with the Rank of Ambassador, Department of State

Chris Lu is currently a Senior Strategy Advisor at FiscalNote, a D.C.-based technology company, and the Teresa A. Sullivan Practitioner Senior Fellow at the University of Virginia Miller Center.  Previously, in a career of public service that spanned two decades, he served in all three branches of the federal government.  From 2014 to 2017, Lu was the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor, having been confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate. In this role, he served as the chief operating officer of a department with 17,000 employees and a $12 billion budget.  The son of immigrants, Lu was only the second Asian American in history to become deputy secretary of a Cabinet department.

Earlier, from 2009 to 2013, he was the White House Cabinet Secretary and Assistant to the President.  During the first term of the Obama Administration, Lu co-chaired the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Prior to his service in the executive branch, Lu worked for then-Senator Obama, first as the Legislative Director, and then as the Acting Chief of Staff. He also served as the Executive Director of the Obama-Biden transition planning efforts in 2008-09. His government experience includes serving as the Deputy Chief Counsel of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and a law clerk to Judge Robert E. Cowen of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Lu is a graduate of Princeton University and graduate of Harvard Law School.


U.S. Senate Confirms Former @USUN Amb. Samantha Power as 19th @USAID Administrator

Once a year, we ask for your support to keep this blog and your dedicated blogger going. So here we are on Week #7 of our eight-week annual fundraising. Our previous funding ran out in August 2020. We recognize that blogging life has no certainty, and this year is no exception.  If you care what we do here, please see GFM:  We could use your help. Grazie!  Merci! Gracias!

On April 28, the U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power as the 19th USAID Administrator. She succeeds Mark Green who served as USAID Administrator under the Trump Administration from August 7, 2017 – April 10, 2020.
Excerpt below from her prepared testimony at her confirmation hearing:

“If confirmed, I will work to strengthen the institution of USAID and invest in the capabilities of the Agency’s dedicated 10,000 foreign service officers, civil servants, locally-employed staff, contractors, and other personnel. This means seeking out and amplifying their insights, learning about specific local needs, and adapting our programs. It means urgently addressing the issues relating to diversity, equity, inclusion, and advancement within USAID’s workforce. And it means emphasizing what President Biden himself has stressed: Development is critical to America’s ability to tackle the toughest problems of our time—economic, humanitarian and geopolitical. 

In consultation with you and others in Congress, I will aim to ensure that USAID enhances its longstanding leadership in food security, education, women’s empowerment, and global health, while also addressing four interconnected and gargantuan challenges confronting the world at this moment:

● The COVID-19 pandemic: With decades of development gains shattered by COVID, imperiling progress on everything from food security to gender equality and access to education, USAID’s support to partners will be vital for recovery, including by building more robust and durable health infrastructure for the future.

● Climate Change: With the surge in droughts, storms, food shortages, and climate-associated humanitarian emergencies, USAID can help countries become more resilient, while supporting their efforts to reduce carbon emissions.

● Conflict and state collapse: With more conflicts occurring today than at any point since the end of the Cold War, USAID assistance will continue to mitigate suffering, while working with US diplomats and our international partners to address the root causes of such crises.

● Democratic backsliding: With freedom declining around the world for the fifteenth year in a row, USAID’s democracy, rights, anti-corruption, and governance programming must nimbly support democratic and civil society actors as they push back against creeping authoritarianism and seek to build lasting democratic institutions.

In tackling these and other challenges, I want to assure the Committee that I will work every day to expand burden-sharing in the international system. At the United Nations, working with my administration colleagues, I was able to help secure major commitments from other countries to care for refugees, respond to the Ebola epidemic, strengthen peacekeeping, and adopt the Sustainable Development Goals. US investments are catalysts that can be used to mobilize governments, international organizations, foundations, and businesses to help countries achieve their own development goals.


Snapshot: Cabinet Rank of @USUN Ambassadors (1946-2019)

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Under the Biden Administration, the USUN Ambassador has cabinet-level status giving Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield a seat on the  National Security Council. This was not the case during her most immediate predecessor. President Biden stated  that he will accord Cabinet status to Greenfield “because I want to hear her voice on all the major foreign policy discussions we have.” (see more Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Assumes Charge @USUN).

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield Assumes Charge @USUN


On February 23, Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was confirmed by the U.S. Senate to be the Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations (Record Vote Number: 61- Confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 78 – 20. ) and  to be Representative of the U..S.A. to the Security Council of the United Nations (Record Vote Number: 64 Confirmed by the Senate by Yea-Nay Vote. 78 – 21).
The Chief of Mission to USUN has the title of Representative of the U.S.A. to the United Nations, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, and Representative of the U.S.A. in the Security Council of the United Nations. The U.S. Mission to the United Nations was formally established with that title, by E.O. 9844 of April 28, 1947.
According to, the first Representative of the U.S.A. to the United Nations was Edward Reilly Stettinius Jr. who also served as 48th Secretary of State from December 1, 1944, until June 27, 1945, under Presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman. He oversaw the end of the Second World War in Europe and the creation of the United Nations. Previous non-career appointees to this position include Madeleine Korbel Albright (1993–1997) who went on to become the 64th Secretary of State and George Herbert Walker Bush (1971–1973) who became 41st POTUS.
The CRS says that President Eisenhower appears to have been the first President to accord Cabinet rank to his Permanent Representative, Henry Cabot Lodge Jr., in 1953. Of the 30 individuals who have served since 1946, approximately two-thirds have been accorded Cabinet rank by Presidents.
Under the Biden Administration, the USUN Ambassador has cabinet-level status giving Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield a seat on the  National Security Council. This was not the case during her most immediate predecessor. President Biden stated  that he will accord Cabinet status to Greenfield “because I want to hear her voice on all the major foreign policy discussions we have.”
The last career diplomat appointed as Chief of Mission to USUN was John Dimitri Negroponte who served from 2001–2004. Other career diplomats appointed to this position include Edward Joseph Perkins (1992–1993), Thomas Reeve Pickering (1989–1992), and Charles Woodruff Yost (1969–1971).
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is only the 5th career diplomat to be appointed to this position.  It looks like she is the first female Foreign Service Officer  to hold a cabinet-level position.



President-Elect @JoeBiden to Name Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN Ambassador


@Transition46 Releases Names of Agency Review Teams For @StateDept, @USAID, @USAGM, and @USUN

The Biden-Harris Transition has released the names of Agency Review Teams for the State Department, USAID (which includes MCC, Peace Crops, IDFC),  the U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) and the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. A lot of familiar names here. Note that all members are currently listed as “volunteers”. According to Transition46, these are individuals who are volunteering for the Transition in their personal capacity. For these team members, their current or most recent employer is listed (for informational purposes only), and their source of funding is listed as “Volunteer.”
We have added a countdown to Inauguration Day on our right sidebar.


Pompeo’s ‘Diplomacy Weak’ Update: US Alone at the UNSC For All the World to See

Dominican Republic Gets a Pompeo Visit After Failed UN Vote