State Department personnel stationed in Ukraine shall be evacuated over the border within Poland every night, according to Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s staff.
They made the announcement hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin authorized Russian forces to enter eastern Ukraine in large numbers.
According to a Monday evening announcement from Blinken, “for security considerations, Department of State staff presently in Lviv will stay overnight in Poland.”
“To continue their official work in Ukraine and also provide essential consular services, our officials will return regularly.”
Independence of Donbas
Putin’s determination that his allies in the war-torn Donbas area of eastern Ukraine have the authority to assert themselves as sovereigns and invite Russian soldiers in represents a heightened risk of bloodshed.
Lviv is on Ukraine’s western border, a long way from the theater of conflict that has raged for the past eight years.
Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated he is willing to escalate the conflict if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky refuses to accept the Kremlin’s plan to partition the country.
CORRECTION: Putin orders Russian troops to Ukraine after recognizing breakaway regions https://t.co/NGYc8DKRCZ We are deleting previous tweets that used Putin’s description of ‘peacekeepers’ in referring to the troops pic.twitter.com/kkPz9MZlok
— Reuters (@Reuters) February 22, 2022
According to Blinken, “the United States’ commitment to Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial security in the face of Russian aggression is unshakeable.”
“As we do regularly around the world, taking prudent precautions to ensure the safety of U.S. government workers and civilians does not, in any way, diminish our support or commitment to Ukraine,” the statement reads.
“Our devotion to Ukraine is not limited to a single area.” The Russian army build-up in Belarus, supposedly for defensive military drills, pushed Russian forces within striking range of the Ukrainian capital.
This prompted Blinken to order the decampment of the United States embassy personnel in Kyiv to Lviv on Feb. 15, according to the Associated Press.
Severe Economic Consequences?
The Biden administration stressed the following on Monday, “Russian troops deploying into Donbas still wouldn’t constitute a significant step forward.”
This is considering the fact Russia occupied that land for years, despite Moscow’s insistence it has not been a party to the conflict in Ukraine.
A senior government official stated, “I also want to address President Putin’s message today. We feel it made apparent his true goals.”
“A speech on Russian security was delivered; it was also an attack on the fundamental concept of a sovereign and independent Ukraine. Essentially, this was a speech the Russian people gave to justify going to war.”
Biden is coming under increasing bipartisan pressure to enforce the “severe” economic sanctions he promised would be imposed if Russia launched an offense into Ukrainian territory.
“The moment has come to impose severe costs on President Putin and the Kremlin,” according to Sen. Chris Coons, a Delaware Democrat.
To those who claimed that shutting NATO's door to Ukraine would preserve peace, please listen to Putin's speech today. He doesn't even mention NATO for the first thirty minutes! His obsession is a democratic, free, independent Ukraine.
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) February 22, 2022
In a long, angry speech on Monday, Vladimir Putin made it clear he plans to invade more parts of Ukraine to change the borders of Eastern Europe in Moscow’s favor.