Recently, rumors circulated that the US Embassy in Kyiv, in light of a worsening security situation in Ukraine, was sending its American citizen employees out of the country. The rumors began to spread with vigor after the Embassy released a statement on July 14, encouraging Americans to immediately exit from Ukraine.
The statement emailed out to Americans by the Embassy indicated that “The security situation throughout Ukraine continues to be violent and unpredictable due to ongoing military attacks by Russia, with active fighting in country and uncertain safety conditions.”
The official document advised that, “The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens not to enter Ukraine and those in Ukraine to depart immediately using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so.”
Alarm spread further when a separate memorandum, found on the Embassy’s website, indicated there was a risk of the “singling out of U.S. citizens in Ukraine by Russian government security officials.”
However, a spokesperson for the US Embassy told the Kyiv Post that the Americans’ “Embassy operations remain limited for the time being, but Ambassador Brink and her team are hard at work here in Kyiv engaging with the Ukrainian government, civil society, diplomatic and other partners in Ukraine as part of our efforts to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression.”
A review of earlier Embassy memorandums (which are publicly available at: https://ua.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/security-and-travel-information/) show that the same warnings have been made to Americans routinely since the war began, including in the May 28 email that the Embassy sent out to its nationals.
A US Government employee familiar with what had transpired, but who declined to go on record, indicated that the rumors of the embassy’s imminent closure may have been born out of Russian disinformation to create panic, or doubts whether the Americans would stay firmly in Kyiv.
The US Embassy received substantial criticism, especially from Ukrainian leaders, when it closed its doors in February, prior to the Russian invasion. The Embassy’s closure was quickly followed by more than a dozen other countries that sought to remove their diplomats before the commencement of hostilities eventually began on February 24.
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