By Caribbean News Global
TORONTO, Canada – Minister of foreign affairs for Canada, Mélanie Joly, US Department of State and EU member states have ordered departures and are being adjusted as necessary to take into account security circumstances at embassies in Kyiv, Ukraine, in view of current threats, reports indicate.
On Saturday minister Joly, said: “Given the continued deterioration of the security situation caused by the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, a temporary office in Lviv and temporarily suspending operations at our embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine. Canada’s diplomatic presence and strong engagement in Ukraine will continue. Services for Canadian citizens will also continue to be offered from the temporary office, by appointment only. However, our ability to provide consular assistance could become increasingly limited.
“As always, our priority in these situations is ensuring the safety and security of all Canadians on the ground. Canadians should continue to avoid all travel to Ukraine. We urge those currently in Ukraine to leave now. We will resume operations at the embassy in Kyiv as soon as the security situation in Ukraine allows us to ensure the adequate delivery of services and guarantee the security of our staff.”
A special briefing by the office of the spokesperson of the US Department of State, via teleconference on Saturday, advised: “Last night on – late on February 11 in Washington, as you have seen, we directed most remaining embassy staff still located in Ukraine to depart the country immediately. And as you have seen in parallel with that direction, we have updated our Travel Advisory to note that change in the official US government posture and presence in the country, and to again reiterate that American citizens should leave immediately via commercial means or private vehicle.
“As of Sunday, February 13, we are suspending consular services at Embassy Ukraine, so American citizens will not be able to secure routine support with passport issues, visa services, any of the other routine consular services that we customarily provide from our embassies,” adds a senior state department official. “We fervently hope and continue to work intensively to try to ensure that Ukraine does not become a war zone, and as you saw secretary Blinken working actively this morning to try to prevent that outcome with foreign minister Lavrov. However, it appears increasingly likely that this is where this situation is headed, towards some kind of active conflict. And that is why we are reducing our staff to a bare minimum while we still have the ability to get our official people out safely and in a predictable fashion.
“Even while we are taking these steps to reduce our official footprint, we’re of course continuing to support the Ukrainian government and the Ukrainian people consistent with our strategic partnership with Ukraine and consistent with our principled support for Ukrainian sovereignty and its territorial integrity.”
The EU and member states reiterated Saturday: “ Our diplomatic missions are not closing. They remain in Kyiv and continue to operate in support to EU citizens and in cooperation with the Ukrainian authorities. Staff presence and travel advice to EU citizens are being adjusted as necessary to take into account security circumstances. We reaffirm our continued support to Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and diplomatic efforts towards de-escalation. We recall that any further military aggression against Ukraine will have massive consequences and severe cost in response,” reads the Council of the EU press release, February 12, 2022.
Meanwhile, a readout of president Biden’s call with president Vladimir Putin of Russia, says: “ President Joseph R. Biden, Jr. spoke today [Saturday] with president Vladimir Putin of Russia about Russia’s escalating military buildup on the borders of Ukraine. President Biden was clear that, if Russia undertakes a further invasion of Ukraine, the United States together with our Allies and partners will respond decisively and impose swift and severe costs on Russia. President Biden reiterated that a further Russian invasion of Ukraine would produce widespread human suffering and diminish Russia’s standing. President Biden was clear with president Putin that while the United States remains prepared to engage in diplomacy, in full coordination with our allies and partners, we are equally prepared for other scenarios.”