As tensions appear to heat up in Eastern Europe and the Biden administration has issued orders for the families of US diplomats in Ukraine to leave the embassy, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky "does not think there's any remotely imminent threat to Kyiv," a source close to the Ukrainian president told BuzzFeed News.
"The fact that the US was the first one to announce this," the source said, "is extremely disappointing and quite frankly these Americans are safer in Kyiv than they are in Los Angeles ... or any other crime-ridden city in the US."
That source went on to say that Biden's plans are "utterly ridiculous" and are merely a symbol of what they view as "US inconsistency."
"On the one hand, [Washington tells Ukraine] how we should democratize. We stand with you. It's your right to determine to join the West. We will stand with you against Russian aggression," the source said. "Then Russia turns up the temperature and they’re the first to leave."
Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko tweeted that "We have taken note of @StateDept’s decision re departure of family members of @USEmbassyKyiv staff. While we respect right of foreign nations to ensure safety & security of their diplomatic missions, we believe such a step to be a premature one & an instance of excessive caution."
Another Ukrainian official was reported to have said that "There have been no radical changes in the security situation recently. The accumulation of Russian troops near the state border began in April last year."
The EU has reportedly not followed suit, and intends to leave their diplomats' families in Ukraine. European diplomat Josep Borrell said that there was no need to "dramatise" the situation, per AFP.
The move to pull some Americans from Ukraine was made by the State Department "out of an abundance of caution due to?continued Russian efforts to destabilize the country and undermine the security of Ukrainian citizens and others visiting or residing in Ukraine." The State Department said that the Ukrainian government was consulted.
President Biden has noted his concerns about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine, and has reportedly been briefed on a plan to send troops overseas to Eastern Europe.
This is a breaking story and will be updated.
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