Russia says to evacuate diplomats from Ukraine soon

Ukrainians protest in front of the Russian embassy in Kiev on Feb 22, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia on Tuesday (Feb 22) said it would soon evacuate its diplomatic staff from Ukraine to "protect their lives", after lawmakers allowed President Vladimir Putin to use force abroad.

"To protect the lives and safety (of diplomats), the Russian leadership decided to evacuate the personnel of Russian foreign missions in Ukraine, which will be implemented in the near future," Moscow's foreign ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said that its diplomats have received threats and that its embassy and consulate has been under "repeated attacks."

"Ukraine has plunged deeper into chaos," the statement said.

Several Western embassies have relocated from Kyiv to the city of Lviv near the Polish border, as the US and its allies have for months accused Russia of planning an attack on Ukraine.

The announcement of evacuations came shortly after Russian parliament's upper house gave Putin permission to use the Russian army abroad.

Putin on Monday recognised eastern Ukraine's separatist-held Donetsk and Lugansk regions as independent and signed agreements with them, opening the door for Russian military presence in the Western-backed country.

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