The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine on Monday dismissed the U.S. State Department’s withdrawal of the families of U.S. embassy staff in Kyiv as “premature” given the lack of “drastic change” in tensions between the country and Russia.
The State Department announced it would withdraw the families of staffers and encourage private American citizens in Ukraine to leave because of an alleged imminent threat of invasion of the country by Russia. Russia invaded Ukraine nearly a decade ago, in 2014, and continues to colonize Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula to this day. The Ukrainian government also accuses Moscow of being heavily involved in the ongoing war in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, which the Kremlin insists is a civil war that has nothing to do with it.
Concern for Ukraine escalated last week after President Joe Biden announced that his administration would not intervene in the event of Russia committing a “minor incursion” into Ukraine and appearing resigned to Russian leader Vladimir Putin inevitably seizing the country. The Ukrainian government refuted Biden’s bizarre comments. In a speech last week, President Volodymyr Zelensky assured his people that the risks of Russian invasion “have existed for more than a year, and they haven’t increased” recently, contrary to Biden’s comments.
The risk of a full Russian invasion of Ukraine increased last year when Biden chose to lift sanctions on the Nord Stream 2 pipeline project, which will connect Russia to Germany and grant the Putin regime unfettered access to the Western European natural gas market. While much of Washington, DC, debates the hypothetical of American military action in Ukraine, Zelensky has spent much of the past year encouraging Washington to simply restore the Trump-era sanctions on the pipeline before it produces windfall profits that could fund an invasion.