The United States is considering evacuating members of diplomat families in Ukraine as the West’s tensions with Russia rise.
Bloomberg, citing sources, mentioned the evacuation plan, described as prudent preparation, after Russia masses more than 100,000 troops near its borders with Ukraine.
Following the plan, U.S. diplomats’ family members stationed in Ukraine would be ordered to return home, while non-essential employees would be allowed to leave voluntarily.
The sources said that an announcement might be issued within days.
The United States embassy website says it employs about 180 American citizens and 560 Ukrainians in Kyiv. Those numbers do not include the diplomats’ family members.
Reportedly Russia has already evacuated its family members and some staff from its diplomatic missions in Ukraine.
A source said that the evacuation decision does not necessarily mean the United States is certain that Russia will invade Ukraine.
Though the Biden administration is in negotiations with Russia and Europe, it has kept warning about a potential invasion by the Russian troops near the borders. It is a part of standard contingency planning in case the security situation deteriorates.
According to a European Union diplomat, the EU delegation has not taken any steps to send their family members home.
The evacuation plan emerged after the United States and Russia have so far failed to ease the crisis despite diplomatic meetings. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Geneva on Friday and agreed to provide written responses to Russian demands and meet again, but no breakthrough was reached.
After their meeting, Blinken told reporters “if Russia wants to begin to convince the world that it has no aggressive intent toward Ukraine, a very good place to start would be de-escalating.”
Meanwhile, Lavrov dismissed Western “hysteria” over Ukraine and repeated that Moscow has no plans to attack its neighbor. He again claimed that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization is the aggressor in the crisis.
Moscow is demanding binding security guarantees that would prevent Ukraine from joining NATO and require the alliance to roll back its forces to positions they held in 1997.
The United States and its NATO allies have rejected those demands.