The New York Times reported that Russia is preparing to evacuate its diplomats from Ukraine. The Foreign Ministries of Ukraine and Russia have denied this information.
Ukraine and Russia have denied information from The New York Times (NYT) about the evacuation of Russian diplomats from Ukraine amid an escalating crisis in relations between the two countries. “The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has not received information from the Russian side about the evacuation of employees of diplomatic institutions of the Russian Federation from Ukraine. Embassies of other states in Ukraine also did not report intentions to evacuate their employees,” Spokesperson of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry Oleg Nikolenko said on Tuesday, January 18.
According to Nikolenko, Ukraine also has no plans to evacuate Ukrainian diplomats from the Russian Federation. “The Embassy in Moscow, Consulates General in St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don, Consulates in Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk are functioning normally on the territory of Russia. Despite the difficult conditions, our diplomats and consuls continue to successfully perform their tasks,” he said.
The Russian Embassy in Kiev is operating normally
Russia also denied reports about the evacuation of its diplomats from Ukraine. “The Russian Embassy in Kiev is operating normally,” Smolenskaya Square said in response to a request to comment on the relevant publication of The New York Times.
Earlier, NYT, citing a senior Ukrainian security official, reported that Russia had instructed diplomats from its consulates in Kiev and Lvov to prepare to leave Ukraine. According to the interlocutor of the publication, on January 5, the wives and children of Russian diplomats - a total of 18 people - boarded buses and went to Moscow. Following them, about 30 more employees of Russian diplomatic missions left, the rest were ordered to prepare for departure.
According to The New York Times, Washington was aware about this evacuation. “We have information indicating that the Russian government was preparing to evacuate their family members from the Russian embassy in Ukraine in late December and early January,” an unnamed U.S. official was quoted as saying.