Apr 26, 2022 - Politics & Policy

U.S. diplomats return to Ukraine for first time since Russia's invasion

Photo of a destroyed automobile shop, with rubble and burnt cars

An automobile repair shop destroyed by Russian missile strikes in Lviv, Ukraine, on April 18. Photo: Markiian Lyseiko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images

U.S. diplomats have returned to Ukraine for the first time since Russia launched its unprovoked invasion, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The resumption of American diplomatic operations in Ukraine has been a priority for the U.S. as Russian forces continue to batter key Ukrainian cities.

What he's saying: Diplomats have returned to Ukraine "on a temporary basis," Price said at a press briefing. The U.S. had moved American diplomatic personnel to Poland after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized two breakaway "republics."

  • "The deputy chief of mission and members of the embassy team traveled to Lviv, Ukraine, today, where they were able to continue our close collaboration with key Ukrainian partners," he said, adding that they met with interlocutors from the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
  • "Today’s travel was a first step ahead of more regular travel in the immediate future, and as we’ve said, we’re accelerating preparations to resume Embassy Kyiv operations just as soon as possible," he noted.
  • "We are constantly assessing and evaluating and re-assessing the security situation with a view towards resuming those embassy operations as soon as possible, again, to facilitate our support to the government and people of Ukraine as they bravely defend their country."

The big picture: U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said Tuesday that Western countries will "keep moving heaven and earth" to help Ukraine defend itself.

  • Austin and Joint Chiefs chair Mark Milley met with over 30 defense officials from dozens of NATO and non-NATO countries in Germany on Tuesday to coordinate military aid for Ukraine.

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