In a separate development, UK Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons said that she continues running the embassy in Kiev together with the core personnel despite growing tensions and the departure of families of diplomats.
“I am staying in Kyiv and continue to work there with a core team. The embassy remains operational,” Simmons wrote on Twitter.
On Monday, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said that the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, and Australia informed it about their intention to evacuate families of diplomats. EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said that member countries of the bloc are not going to evacuate their diplomatic staff from Ukraine.
Meanwhile, the Belgian Foreign Ministry has updated its travel advice, calling on Belgian citizens to leave Ukraine, adding that evacuation cannot be guaranteed if tensions escalate. “All trips to the entire Ukrainian territory are strongly discouraged. Nationals who are currently in Ukraine and whose presence is not absolutely necessary are strongly advised to leave the country,” the new travel advice read. The ministry advised citizens to modify their travel plans depending on the security situation in Ukraine as tensions with Russia allegedly grow, adding that should the situation deteriorate, disruptions might affect air travel, internet and phone connectivity in Ukraine.
Ukraine and several Western countries have been accusing Russia of military build-up along the Ukrainian border in an alleged preparation of invasion. Russia has rejected these accusations. On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Russia was not threatening anyone but was being threatened. He added that Moscow is not excluding that the “hysteria” around Ukraine which is being fueled by the West is aimed at concealing Kiev’s plans to sabotage the Minsk Agreements on Donbass. Moreover, Russia warned Western counterparts supplying lethal weaponry to Ukraine that the latter could use it against the breakaway parts of the Donbass region.