LONDON/WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - The US is discussing moving its embassy out of Ukraine after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two separatist regions in the eastern part of the country, according to three people familiar with the matter.
The US is temporarily moving all State Department personnel out of Ukraine to Poland for security reasons, according to the people speaking on condition of anonymity.
Biden officials intend for the personnel to return Tuesday (Feb 22) morning if there is no invasion by Russia, one of the people said. Spokespeople for the State Department and the National Security Council declined to comment. Russia denies it intends to invade.
The embassy had previously relocated from Kyiv to the western city of Lviv. The Biden administration has also told non-essential embassy staff and US citizens to leave Ukraine.
Several other countries have moved their embassies and issued travel alerts warning their citizens to not travel to Ukraine, following US assessments that Russia could be planning to invade Ukraine imminently.
The flurry of activity and last-minute diplomacy comes as Putin signed a decree officially recognising two self-proclaimed separatist republics in eastern Ukraine, a move that likely torpedoes European-mediated peace talks and further escalates tensions with the West.
Biden said last week that he believed the Russian president had made a decision to invade Ukraine.