May 29, 2023

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Ukraine: Washington withdraws families of diplomats and holds talks with EU

Ukraine: Washington withdraws families of diplomats and holds talks with EU

The US State Department has ordered the evacuation of the families of its ambassadors staying in Kiev on Sunday evening and advised them not to travel to Russia, until consultations with European countries in Brussels began on Monday.

The US State Department said in a statement that the situation in Ukraine was “unpredictable and could worsen at any time” and called on the families of diplomats to leave the country.

Local staff and non-essential staff can leave the embassy if they wish, and U.S. citizens residing in Ukraine must “consider now” their departure.

“We believe a Russian invasion (…) could happen at any time,” a senior US official told reporters. “The United States will not be in a position to expel American citizens in this situation.”

The embassy is still open and the person in charge, Christina Quian, is in Ukraine, the official said, not wanting to be named.

Washington has advised Americans not to travel to Russia, especially justifying the move by “the potential for harassment of American citizens”, particularly by the Russian police and “arbitrary use of local laws”.

In Kiev, the Ukrainian Defense Minister announced in a tweet that 80 tons of weapons were coming “from our friends in the United States.” “It’s not over,” Olekshi Resnikov said.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinkan will discuss “open talks” with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday via video conference with EU members in Brussels.

Russians and Americans have agreed to a new meeting, and Anthony Blinken has promised to “put ideas on paper” in response to Moscow’s demands.

Russia demands written commitment not to extend NATO to Ukraine and Georgia, and to withdraw the forces and weapons of the Atlantic Alliance of Eastern Europe, which joined NATO after 1997, especially from Romania and Bulgaria. Unacceptable demands on Westerners.

A NATO spokesman warned Friday that “we will always respond to any deterioration in our security environment, especially by strengthening our collective security.”

– “Ready to respond” –

The security situation is considered to be worrisome. Moscow says it has no intention of intervening in Ukraine, but has amassed more than 100,000 troops, tanks and artillery across the border, backing pro-Russian separatist claims from the Lukansk and Donetsk republics of Lukansk and Donetsk. With Ukraine.

“We hope the attack will not happen. But then we are ready to respond with massive economic and financial sanctions, “said Ursula van der Leyen, head of the European Commission.

Ministers will reaffirm this position on Monday, according to draft results seen by the AFP.

A series of selections will be made by the Commission and submitted to the Ministers. They will be included in the approved retaliatory measures after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.

The EU supplies 43% and 20% of gas and oil purchases, respectively, and largely finances the Russian budget, which is on the table, a European source told AFP.

French President Emmanuel Macron stressed in the European Parliament on Wednesday that “the credibility of our response to Moscow predicts the impact (…) of the use of the game on the price of gas or supplies using displacement flows or energy.”

“Ministers will not make any decision on Monday,” he said.

European sanctions should be adopted unanimously, but the reduction in energy purchases divides the EU. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is scheduled to visit Moscow in February to discuss gas supplies, particularly to his country.

“Within the EU, sometimes visions and interests are not properly aligned,” a European ambassador acknowledged.

According to European diplomatic sources, Germany has withdrawn a plan aimed at disconnecting Moscow from the global tariff system SWIFT. And Berlin refuses to supply arms to Kiev.

On Sunday, President Olaf Schaals called on Germany to have “wisdom” in considering possible obstacles and “consequences”.

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