Two Republican senators have called on Secretary of State Antony Blinken to reopen the U.S. Embassy in the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv as Russia shifts its military focus to other areas of the nation.
Kansas Sen. Jerry Moran and Montana Sen. Steve Daines shared the request in a letter on Tuesday that was obtained by Politico. They reasoned that Ukraine appears to have staved off Russia’s attempt to seize the capital.
“With Ukraine’s successful defense of Kyiv and Russia’s subsequent withdrawal of forces from the areas surrounding the capital, we encourage you to fully open the United States embassy without delay,” the senators wrote.
Restoring America’s diplomatic presence in Kyiv is critical, the said, because the besieged country faces widespread challenges even as it defends itself.
“Ukraine faces enormous military, economic, and humanitarian challenges as a result of this war,” they said.
In addition to Moran and Daines, at least one additional Republican senator has expressed support for the nation’s embassy to restore operations to Ukraine.
“It’s time,” Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), an Army veteran, told Stars and Stripes last week. “We have numerous American [non-governmental organizations] operating in Ukraine, thousands of Americans who never left, and American news operations in the country. It’s time to return – and show Ukraine, and the world, our enduring commitment to their freedom.”
The U.S. announced it was relocating its embassy operations from the capital of Kyiv to the city of Lviv shortly before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began in February.
On Feb. 24, the day Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, a State Department spokesperson announced the team would be working from Poland.
“They remain there and are not currently traveling over the border to Ukraine,” the spokesperson told The Hill.
“We will continually assess the security situation to determine when it may be safe for U.S. government personnel to return to Ukraine to conduct diplomacy on the ground and provide in-person consular services,” the spokesperson added.
Kyiv endured multiple attacks by Russia, which have shifted recently toward the eastern region of Ukraine. On April 9, European Union High Representative Josep Borrell met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in Kyiv to announce plans to restart its operations in Ukraine’s capital.
“With this visit, the European Union is returning back to Kyiv. I mean this literally: our Head of our Delegation is back here, so that we can work even more directly and more closely with the Ukrainian authorities,” Borrell said in a statement.
Italy has also returned from a move to Lviv to operate in Kyiv once again, according to a CNN report.
As of Tuesday, at least 17 nations have returned diplomats to Kyiv.
“Among the countries sending their diplomats back to Kyiv to reopen their embassies are: France, Italy, Turkey, Lithuania, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Belgium, and Austria,” Foreign Policy reported.
“The European Union also reopened its diplomatic mission in Kyiv this month. Several major countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, have kept their diplomatic missions out of the capital for now,” the report added.
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