WASHINGTON (Associated Press) – The United States is preparing to evacuate its embassy in Kiev as Western intelligence officials warn that a Russian invasion of Ukraine is increasingly imminent.
US officials said the State Department plans to announce as early as Saturday that all US staff at the Kiev embassy will be asked to leave before the feared Russian invasion.
A few officials may remain in Kiev, but the vast majority of the roughly 200 Americans at the embassy will be sent or relocated to the far west of Ukraine, near the Polish border, so the United States can maintain a diplomatic presence in the country.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not comment.
The ministry had earlier ordered the families of US embassy employees in Kiev to leave. But she left it to the discretion of non-essential individuals if they wanted to leave. The new move comes at a time when Washington has stepped up its warnings about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly, said a small number of US diplomats may be moved to the far west of Ukraine, near the border with NATO ally Poland, so the United States can keep them. The presence of a diplomat in the country.
The Pentagon announced Friday that it will send another 3,000 combat troops to Poland to join the 1,700 who are already massing there, in a show of US commitment to NATO allies worried about a possible Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The additional soldiers will leave their position at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, over the next two days, and are supposed to be in Poland by early next week, according to a defense official who provided the information under ground bases set by the Pentagon. They are the remaining elements of an infantry brigade of the 82nd Airborne Division.
Their job will be to train and provide deterrence, but not to participate in the fighting in Ukraine.
The announcement came shortly after Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, issued a public warning to all US citizens in Ukraine to leave the country as soon as possible. Sullivan said Russian President Vladimir Putin could order an invasion of Ukraine any day now.
In addition to the American forces deployed in Poland, about 1,000 American soldiers stationed in Germany are moving to Romania on a similar mission to reassure a NATO ally. 300 soldiers from the command unit of the XVIII Airborne Corps also arrived in Germany, commanded by Lieutenant General Michael E. Corella.
US forces will train with host country forces but will not enter Ukraine for any purpose.
The United States already has about 80,000 troops across Europe in permanent stations and on periodic deployments.
Associated Press writers Robert Burns, Lolita C. Baldur, and Amer Madhani contributed to this report.
“Incurable bacon nerd. Lifelong tv aficionado. Writer. Award-winning explorer. Evil web buff. Amateur pop culture ninja.”