Biden Evacuates U.S. Embassy Employees

Photo by James Kenny on Unsplash

Things are getting more serious.

As fears that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is imminent, most U.S. Embassy staff in Kyiv, Ukraine, have been ordered to evacuate.

Late Friday night, the State Department issued an evacuation order addressed to “most U.S. direct hire employees.” The order stated that “the continued threat of Russia military action” was the reason behind the move.

The consular will also be suspending all consular services in Ukraine, only maintaining a small consular presence in Lviv to manage emergencies.

In a news briefing, a senior State Department official revealed to reporters that an “active conflict” appeared likely, pointing to that being the reason staff reduction “to a bare minimum while we still have the ability to get our official people out safely” is necessary.

When questioned by reporters, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to give more specific details about the concerns of an imminent threat. However, President Biden’s administration officials have reiterated that they were uncertain Russian President Vladimir Putin had any intention of sending his troops over the border.

But, even without explicit reason for the evacuation order, National Security adviser Jake Sullivan issued a warning to reporters at the White House on Thursday. He urged Americans in Ukraine to leave the country within “24 to 48 hours” as there weren’t any guarantees commercial travel would remain if a war ensues.

Sullivan also gave an explicit idea of what the invasion could look like, mentioning “aerial bombings and missile attacks that could obviously kill civilians without regard to their nationality,” leading to a ground invasion that would entail “the onslaught of a massive force.”

Hours before Sullivan made his warning, Secretary of State Antony Blinken noted an incursion on Ukraine “could begin at any time.” Blinken added that despite a previous belief by officials that the ongoing Olympics would hold up a military push, the invasion could happen while the winter event was ongoing.