Five countries move their diplomats to Lviv in light of potential Russian military aggression

14 February 2022, 03:30 PM

Australia, Canada, and Germany announced over the weekend of Feb. 12-13 that they would move their consulates closer to Ukraine’s western borders, while the United States and the Netherlands will keep representative missions in Lviv.

Australia is temporarily closing down its embassy in Kyiv and moving it to Lviv in western Ukraine in light of the Russian-sparked tensions on Ukraine’s border, Australia’s Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Feb. 13.

“The Government has directed the departure of staff at the Australian Embassy in Kyiv and temporarily suspended operations at our embassy in Kyiv,” wrote Payne in an official release.

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Canada made a similar official statement on Feb. 12.

“Given the continued deterioration of the security situation caused by the buildup of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border,” wrote Canada’s Defense Minister Mélanie Joly,“we will be moving our operations to a temporary office in Lviv and temporarily suspending operations at our embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine.”

On Feb. 12 the U.S. State Department ordered diplomats in non-critical positions to evacuate from the U.S. embassy in Kyiv. Starting Feb. 14, consular services at the U.S. embassy in Kyiv are suspended. The State Department noted that there will be a minor U.S. consular presence in Lviv. The diplomatic mission will not provide the usual consular services and will only deal with urgent evacuation requests.

The Netherlands embassy remains in Kyiv, but part of its personnel will be working from Lviv. Dutch citizens will be able to address the Lviv-based emergency service center to apply for any documents required in the event of a potential Russian invasion.

The German consulate for Ukraine’s eastern oblasts is moving from Dnipro to Lviv. This is its second move – the Germans first moved their consulate from Donetsk to Dnipro in 2014.

“The German embassy in Kyiv will remain open but the personnel will be reduced,” said German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock on Feb. 12.

"Our Donetsk general consulate, in Dnipro since 2014, will be moved to Lviv.”

On Feb. 13, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and U.S. President Joe Biden discussed the crisis in Ukraine over the phone. The White House has informed U.S. allies that Russia could potentially invade Ukraine on Feb. 15-16.

The Ukrainian government has insisted that it “has everything under control,” though it did send Russia an urgent missive on Feb. 11, demanding that the country explain the Russia military presence on Ukraine’s borders.

The missive, meant to be answered in 48 hours under the Vienna Mechanism of the OSCE, did not receive a reply.

Russia currently has 140,000 troops and equipment stationed around Ukraine’s borders, including the northern Belarusian border and in the temporarily occupied territories of Crimea and the Donbas. While it has officially denied plans to invade, it has also refused to provide any guarantees to the contrary, and continues to mobilize its forces on the Ukrainian border.

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