Russia to evacuate its diplomats from Ukraine

Kiev has failed to provide appropriate security for Moscow’s diplomatic staff, the Foreign Ministry has said

Moscow is set to withdraw its diplomatic staff from Ukraine, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday, accusing Kiev of failing to abide by its international obligations to ensure their security.

“The Russian Embassy in Kiev and the Consulates General of our country in Odessa, Lvov, and Kharkov have been repeatedly attacked,” the statement reads. “Russian diplomats have also become the target of aggressive actions. They received threats of physical violence. Their cars were burned,” it continued.

The Kiev authorities have failed to act on these threats and to protect the Russian diplomats “despite their obligations under the Vienna Convention,” the ministry said, referring to the framework agreement on diplomatic relations.

The statement ended with the announcement that Russian diplomatic staff would be evacuated from Ukraine “in the near future.”

In the current circumstances, our top priority is to take care of Russian diplomats and employees of the Embassy and Consulates General. To protect their lives and safety, the Russian leadership has decided to evacuate the personnel of Russian foreign missions in Ukraine.

The move comes a day after Russia moved to recognize the Donetsk (DPR) and Lugansk (LPR) People’s Republics, which broke away from Ukraine back in 2014 after the Maidan events and coup in Kiev. Explaining the decision, Russian President Vladimir Putin claimed the recognition was necessary because the Ukrainian authorities had given up on negotiations and were seeking to re-take the breakaway regions by force. Kiev has denied favoring a military solution, while its Western allies have been accusing Russia of planning an all-out invasion of Ukraine, which the Kremlin has rejected as “fake news.”

The DPR and the LPR have accused Kiev of preparing to launch a military operation, alleging that Ukrainian troops are shelling their positions with heavy artillery and launching attacks on local infrastructure. Ukrainian officials have rejected these accusations, claiming Kiev has no plans to recapture the republics by force, and that the assaults have been staged by the separatists themselves.

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