Moscow says it’s not evacuating its diplomatic personnel from Ukraine

18 January 2022, 12:17 PM

Russia’s Foreign Ministry insists that its embassy in Kyiv is operating normally, contradicting earlier reports that Russian diplomats are getting ready to evacuate the country, Russian news agency Interfax wrote on Jan. 18.

On Jan. 17, U.S. newspaper The New York Times said that Russian diplomatic staff working in the Kyiv and Lviv consulates had been told to prepare to leave Ukraine.

The diplomatic staff’s families already left Ukraine in early January, the NYT reports citing sources, with 30 more consulate staff possibly joining them soon.

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The article suggests this could indicate one of three things: another part of a Russian propaganda strategy, preparations for a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, or merely a feint.

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry is unaware of any plans to evacuate Russian diplomatic staff from Ukraine, ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko told NV on Jan. 18.

“(Ukraine’s) Foreign Ministry did not receive any communications about Russian diplomatic personnel evacuating from Ukraine,” Nikolenko said.

“No country has so far indicated intentions to evacuate their diplomats.”

Nikolenko added that Ukraine is not planning to evacuate its envoys from Russia, either.

“Despite these trying conditions, our embassy in Moscow, as well as consulates in St. Petersburg, Rostov-on-Don, Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk, are all operating normally,” he said.

A Russian troop buildup on the Ukrainian border was first widely reported in early December 2021, with several media outlets speculating that Russia might invade Ukraine with a force of 175,000 troops in early 2022.

The Kremlin denies gearing up for invasion, and has instead accused Ukraine of planning false flag operations, as well as of drawing up plans to use force to restore Kyiv’s control over territories lost since 2014.

The situation on Ukraine's eastern border is a matter of deep concern for both U.S. and EU officials. According to U.S. President Joe Biden, the White House is looking at a range of options to dissuade Russia from a potential attack on Ukraine.

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