Ivano-Frankivsk mayor invites US Embassy in Kyiv to relocate to western Ukraine
The city of Ivano-Frankivsk in western Ukraine is ready to host embassies of other countries if they decide to relocate from the capital city of Kyiv in the case of a further Russian invasion, Ivano-Frankivsk Mayor Ruslan Martsinkiv said at a briefing on Feb. 9.
He was commenting on recent media reports that the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv is allegedly discussing the possibility of relocating to western Ukraine amid the looming threat of Russian invasion.
“Today we read that the U.S. Embassy is considering the possibility of relocating to western Ukraine. Ivano-Frankivsk is ready to help and host the embassy,” Martsinkiv said.
The mayor said the local authorities are ready to place the embassy staff in a local locomotive repair plant building, and fence off the area around it.
The U.S. Department of State has not commented on the offer.
Russia’s potential invasion of Ukraine
Russia has been massing troops at the border since late October.
More than 130,000 Russian troops and offensive weapons have been deployed near Ukraine’s borders and in the temporarily occupied territories, according to the latest intelligence estimate from the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine.
On Jan. 14, the U.K.-based Guardian newspaper and the U.S.-based CNN news channel reported that Russia had positioned covert operatives in Ukraine to carry out a “false flag” operation to use as a pretext for a Russian attack, with the White House and Pentagon both stating they received the same intelligence.
Both U.S. and European officials have expressed concern over the situation.
U.S. President Joe Biden in December declared that the White House was working out “the most comprehensive and meaningful set of initiatives to make it very, very difficult for (Russian President Vladimir) Putin to go ahead and do what people are worried he may do.”
The proposed measures include cutting Russia off from the SWIFT international banking system, personal sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin and his inner circle, and a ban on U.S. dollar transactions with Russia.
The Kremlin says the troop movements are an internal affair of the Russian Federation.
At the same time, Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukraine of planning “provocations,” and alleged that Kyiv plans to regain control of the occupied territories by military means. The Kremlin has failed to back up any of its allegations with evidence, however.
Russian troops have also been deployed to Belarus, as part of previously unscheduled military exercises. However, Russian equipment has been spotted along the Ukrainian-Belarusian border, far from the zone where the exercises are supposed to be held.
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