US suspends operations at Belarus embassy, ​​ORs leave Moscow

The US Embassy in Moscow.

Mikhail Metzel | BAGS | Getty Images

The foreign ministry announced Monday that it has suspended operations at its embassy in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, and has given the green light for the voluntary departure of non-emergency members and their families from the US embassy in Moscow. .

“We have taken these steps due to security concerns arising from the unprovoked and unwarranted attack by Russian forces in Ukraine,” Foreign Minister Antony Blinken said in a statement.

The Biden administration’s actions mark the latest erosion of diplomatic ties with the Kremlin, which has been condemned by much of the international community and faced with crippling sanctions for its military aggression in Ukraine. The regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus, which borders Ukraine and is closely linked to Russian President Vladimir Putin, has also been sanctioned, most recently by the European Union.

Earlier Monday morning, talks started between Russian and Ukrainian delegations at the border between Ukraine and Belarus. According to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, the two countries agreed to meet without preconditions.

Blinken’s statement said the US had “authorized the voluntary departure (“authorized departure”) of non-emergency workers and relatives” from the embassy in Moscow.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is constantly adjusting its stance at embassies and consulates around the world in accordance with its mission, the local security environment and the health situation,” said Blinken.

“Ultimately, we have no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens, and that includes our US government personnel and their families serving around the world,” he said.

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