US suspending consular services in Ukraine, withdrawing part of diplomats

February 12, 2022, the Department of State ordered the departure of most U.S. direct hire employees from Embassy Kyiv due to the continued threat of Russian military action. U.S. citizens should not travel to Ukraine, and those in Ukraine should depart immediately using commercial or other privately available transportation options. The Department previously authorized the voluntary departure of U.S. direct hire employees and ordered the departure of eligible family members on January 23, 2022.

US Embassy in Kyiv tweeted about it.

“As of Sunday, February 13, 2022, the Department of State will suspend consular services at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. The Embassy will maintain a small consular presence in Lviv, Ukraine to handle emergencies, but will not be able to provide passport, visa or routine consular services.  U.S. citizens may seek these services at U.S. Embassies in neighboring countries,” US Department of State reports.

Late Friday, February 11, Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has held a set of phone calls with Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, German MFA head Annalena Baerbock, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell. The talks took place amid the US has warned of the “very distinct possibility” of a Russian invasion of Ukraine in the next few days, potentially involving an overwhelming attack on Kyiv, and told all remaining Americans to leave the country in the next 48 hours. New US intelligence suggests Russia could intend to attack Ukraine before the end of the Olympics (February 20).

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The Israeli Foreign Ministry has announced that it is withdrawing the families of its diplomats from Ukraine. At the same time, Latvia, Norway, Japan, South Korea, Montenegro, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States called on their citizens to “leave Ukraine immediately.”

As reported yesterday, new Russian border deployments were detected by satellite. Find more details and photos here.

On February 10, large-scale exercises of the Russian and Belarusian armies with the use of heavy military equipment began in Belarus. Ukraine’s Western partners fear that Russia could use these exercises as a pretext to attack Ukraine. The drills are expected to end on February 20. Russia has repeatedly denied any plans to invade Ukraine despite massing more than 100,000 troops at the border.

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In addition, Russia is blocking Black, Azov Seas, Kerch Strait waters under the pretext of naval drills. Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has voiced a strong protest against such Russia’s steps. In December, the Ukrainian Navy said that about 70% of the Azov Sea was blocked due to Russian military exercises.

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