Western governments evacuating diplomatic personnel from Kiev are increasingly setting up temporary embassies in Lviv, a Ukrainian city near the Polish border.
The move comes as fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine intensify. US President Joe Biden and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron spoke separately with Russian President Vladimir Putin for more than an hour each on Saturday as part of an ongoing effort to dissuade the Russian president from further military action.
The US State Department said in a statement that beginning Sunday it will ‘maintain a small consular presence in Lviv, Ukraine to handle emergencies’ after ordering the departure of ‘most US direct employees’ on Saturday. from the embassy in Kyiv because of the persistent threat from Russia”. military action.”
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock also noted Saturday “we will keep our embassy at [Kyiv] open but reduce our diplomatic staff. Our Consulate General in Donetsk, based in Dnipro since 2014, is temporarily moved to Lviv.
The Netherlands also announced that while ‘most embassy staff will also leave Ukraine, a reduced staff will remain available…to issue emergency visas and laissez-passer from its ‘meeting point’. you” in Lviv”.
But where the United States, Germany and the Netherlands still plan to maintain a small diplomatic presence in Kiev, Australia and Canada are falling flat.
“In view of the deteriorating security situation caused by the buildup of Russian troops on the Ukrainian border, the government has ordered the departure of Australian embassy staff in Kyiv and temporarily suspended operations,” the government said on Sunday. Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne. “We will move our operations to a temporary office in Lviv.”
This echoes almost verbatim an earlier statement by Canada.
“We will move our operations to a temporary office in Lviv and temporarily suspend operations at our embassy in Kyiv,” Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly said on Saturday.
The EU has appointed seven key staff to its representation in Kyiv, including Ambassador Matti Maasikas, and for now they will remain in the capital, an EU diplomat said.
David M. Herszenhorn contributed reporting.