US diplomats return to Ukraine, hope to reopen kyiv embassy ‘as soon as possible’

US diplomats returned to Ukraine this week for the first time since Russia began its invasion of the country, the State Department confirmed on Tuesday.

State Department spokesman Ned Price said members of the US Embassy team began taking day trips to Lviv, a significant diplomatic move after the agency withdrew most of its staff in February and closed the embassy in Kyiv. Officials have been moved to neighboring Poland, but the Biden administration has long said it hopes to resume operations in Ukraine as part of a show of diplomatic support.

“Today’s trip was a first step ahead of more regular trips in the immediate future, and, as we said, we are accelerating preparations to resume Kyiv embassy operations as soon as possible,” Price said during a press briefing. He added that the United States would continue “to facilitate our support for the government and people of Ukraine as they bravely defend their country.”

The announcement came just days after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv. The couple stressed that the White House would continue to move “heaven and earth” to help defend against the ongoing invasion of the Kremlin.

“We are all here because of the courage of Ukraine, because of the innocent civilians who have been killed, and because of the suffering your people are still enduring,” Austin said Tuesday during a meeting with defense officials. dozens of NATO and non-NATO countries. in Germany. “Your country has been ravaged, your hospitals have been bombed, your citizens have been executed, your children have been traumatized. But Ukraine has done a magnificent job of defending its sovereignty against Russia’s unprovoked invasion.

Zelenskyy called on President Joe Biden to strengthen security guarantees and provide more weapons and other armaments to help Ukraine defend itself.

Blinken said after his meeting with the Ukrainian leader that he believed Russia was “failing” in its efforts to capture the country, saying he believed Zelensky and his people could succeed if they had the “right equipment” and “good support”.

“The bottom line is this: we don’t know how the rest of this war will play out, but we do know that a sovereign, independent Ukraine will be here much longer than Vladimir Putin is on the scene,” Blinken said. after his speech. to visit.


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