Blinken thanks Poland for helping US citizens leave Ukraine

18 February 2022, 12:45 PM

The United States expresses its gratitude to Poland for assisting U.S. citizens who are leaving Ukraine, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau by phone on Feb. 17

During the call, Blinken welcomed the Polish foreign minister’s involvement in talks in Kyiv and Moscow, and expressed his support for Rau’s initiative to launch a Renewed European Security Dialogue at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

The U.S. Secretary of State reiterated his commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and Ukraine’s determination to deter and defend against further Russian aggression.

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Earlier on Feb. 14, Blinken announced that Washington was closing the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv and “temporarily redeploying” the small number of diplomatic personnel remaining in the country to the city of Lviv in western Ukraine.

Since Friday, Feb. 11, when foreign media outlets reported that a further Russian military invasion of Ukraine could happen as early as Feb. 15-16, dozens of countries around the world have called on their citizens to leave Ukraine and cancel their trips to the country.

Additionally, a number of countries announced a reduction of the staff levels at their diplomatic missions in Ukraine.

On Jan. 24, the U.S. Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of government employees and ordered family members of government employees to leave the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv. The United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, Canada and Israel then made a similar decision.

On Feb. 12, the U.S. Department of State ordered non-emergency diplomats to leave the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv.

The German consulate for Ukraine’s eastern regions is also transferring to Lviv, from the city of Dnipro in central Ukraine.

Some employees of the Russian diplomatic mission will also leave Ukraine, the Russian authorities have announced.

At the same time, the European Union say that they are not closing their representative offices in Ukraine, or the embassies of member countries, and they continue to work normally.

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