So far, the decision has been to hold back, said a US official familiar with the debate. “It seems every agency has its share of skeptics,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to describe sensitive conversations. “Half of [White House] and half the state wants to do it. The other halves are against it and say too early.”
A senior State Department official said but everyone wants to reopen the embassy Camps have different standards of when this is safe enough. A State Department spokesman said there was no timetable to announce, but “our team is actively planning and we very much look forward to the resumption of embassy operations in Ukraine.” A second State Department official, who asked not to be identified as he was not authorized to comment on the matter, but said no preparations were underway to immediately reopen the facility in Kyiv.
The discussion continues as Russia has withdrawn its troops from the Kyiv area and is concentrating its attacks on eastern Ukraine to give the capital some breathing room. But Moscow can be unpredictable. On Friday, Russian missiles hit a factory on the outskirts of Kyiv that it said made the Ukrainian missiles that hit Russia’s flagship, the Moskva, and sank it in the Black Sea.
It’s on Monday rockets fired at Lviv, a city in western Ukraine where US diplomats had temporarily relocated from Kyiv at an earlier stage. At least seven people died.
Nevertheless several US Lawmakers from both parties have called on Biden to send US diplomats back to the Ukrainian capital.
“US embassies have operated in similar environments before, and a renewed US presence in Kyiv is critical to efforts to support Ukrainians,” Sen. Jim Risch from Idaho, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement. Risch also called on Biden to officially appoint an ambassador to Ukraine, a post that has been vacant for years for various reasons.
representative Tom Malinowski (DN.J.) argued that the embassy should be reopened because Kyiv is “the moral capital of the world and the site of the most important American foreign policy enterprise in years.”
And William Taylor, a former US ambassador to Ukraine, said a number of American diplomats assigned to Ukraine had told him they were eager to return to Kyiv. It’s not just symbolism; US diplomats believe they can do their jobs better in the capital, where they have more access to Ukrainians of all backgrounds, including government officials.
“They listen, get news from, hear what Ukrainians are thinking,” Taylor said, noting that such exchanges go both ways. “You can’t do that anywhere else than in Kyiv.”
This is an argument repeated by Sen. Jim Inhöfe (R-Okla.), who pointed out that the Biden team “hasn’t even indicated that they will bring their diplomats back anywhere in the country.”
“US officials returning to Ukraine would enhance our ability to coordinate with the security forces and various participating nations so that together we can maintain Ukraine’s battlefield successes,” Inhofe said in a statement.
The government’s reluctance to resume diplomatic activity in Kyiv is surprising given what Blinken and other senior Biden aides have advocated for the past few years.
In an October Speech on the modernization of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Blinken outlined concerns he had heard from many US diplomats that security requirements were making it difficult for them to do their jobs. Among other things, the diplomats complained about how long it had taken to set up new diplomatic facilities and that embassies were often built in areas far from important centers, making it difficult to plan meetings. Blinken promised to break down such barriers.
“A world without risk is not a world where American diplomacy can do anything,” Blinken said in that speech. “We have to accept risks and manage them wisely.”
Two other senior government officials – Secretary of State Uzra Zeya and Deputy National Security Adviser Jon Finer – were co-authors a November 2020 report on the revitalization of US foreign policy which called on the State Department to “articulate greater risk tolerance and civil courage as the core of a necessary cultural change”.
On Tuesday, Assistant Secretary of State for Management Brian McKeon emailed the department to encourage staff to provide examples of innovative and intelligent risk-taking in their diplomatic work. The email also referred employees to a newly updated risk management policy, arguing that it was time to move away from the post-Benghazi mindset.
“The Secretary, senior executives and I stand with you as you make considered decisions regarding risk,” McKeon wrote in the email obtained by POLITICO. The note did not mention Ukraine.
Some US The legislature has also passed laws intended to encourage US diplomats to move beyond what many call a “bunker mentality.” Such moves come amid growing concerns in Washington over China’s increasing diplomatic influence around the world.
But while diplomats from other countries often find it easy to navigate a host country, the reality is that US diplomats have a bigger purpose behind them because of America’s global standing.
The Biden administration the embassy in Kyiv closed in mid-February after months of warning Ukraine and other countries that Russian leader Vladimir Putin was building up his forces in a likely invasion plan.
The withdrawal of the embassy took place gradually over several weeks voluntary and ordered departures of diplomats and their families and the relocation of some core employees, first to Lviv and later to neighboring Poland. The departures angered Ukrainian officials as they seemed more skeptical that Putin would invade and sought to keep their country politically stable.
The US embassy in Ukraine is one of several American outposts that have been closed, are operating at reduced capacity, or have diplomats stationed elsewhere.
The US embassy in Kabul was shut down last year when the Afghan government fell to the Islamist Taliban militia. Some US diplomats posted to Afghanistan are now operating out of Doha, Qatar. It’s unclear when US diplomats will return to Kabul, especially since the United States has not officially recognized the Taliban government.
In Iraq, the US embassy in Baghdad remains open despite security risks. However, this embassy is located in the heavily fortified Green Zone of the Iraqi capital, and it is a vast compound where security is a top priority.
The United States has drastically scaled back its activities at its embassy in Cuba in recent years, in part due to the still unresolved cases of illness known as “Havana Syndrome”. The Biden administration has promised to resume some visa processing soon and expand other functions in the embassy.
Some Libyan leaders have called on the United States to reopen its embassy in Tripoli, saying it would send a signal to the world that Libya is emerging from the chaos that has consumed it for much of the past decade. Despite studying the idea, however, the Biden administration is has not yet reopened this missionand many US diplomats focused on Libya operate out of Tunisia.
The Libyan case is a sore point because of the 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. The politically polarized debate in Washington over what happened has rocked the State Department, and the fallout is often blamed for the agency’s overly protective attitude towards its diplomats.
“The overwhelming majority of foreign service officials are willing to accept the physical risks of being where the action is taking place,” said Malinowski, who has served as a senior State Department official. “The problem has been that since the post-Benghazi witch hunt, successive governments have ignored the political risks.”
The war in Ukraine also led to this the closure of the US embassy in Belarus, whose dictator Alexander Lukashenko has sided with Putin. State Department officials said they had no updated information on the status of that diplomatic mission. However, the US Embassy in Moscow will continue to operate, albeit at a reduced capacity.
Capitol Hill officials are investigating the Kyiv embassy’s affair, with some noting that various configurations are possible for a “reopening.” After all, a complete replacement need not be necessary; A handful of US diplomats could arrive and unlock the doors of the embassy in a first phase.
“The question really is, ‘What is the best way for the US to re-establish a diplomatic presence and protect personnel from harm?'” said a Senate staffer.
There are also some big questions to consider. Would it go against Biden’s promise that no troops will be on the ground when Marines – who guard US embassies – are brought back into the country? And if, for example, the Russian military attacks the US embassy, is that considered an attack on America that would trigger the NATO military alliance’s mutual defense clause?
That could depend on a number of factors, according to national security advocates, including whether the attack was premeditated, whether it would reach the threshold of an “armed attack” under the United Nations Charter, and ultimately how the United States and NATO considered it Whole decide to react to it.
Pressure on the Biden administration to reopen the embassy in Kyiv is likely to increase as Ukraine’s military continues to restrain its Russian enemies in the coming weeks and months.
Currently, the government is also considering sending a top official like Blinken or Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin to Kyiv. Other national leaders, including British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, recently visited the Ukrainian capital.
However, the government has ruled out sending Biden himself
“It’s not in the plans of the President of the United States,” the White House press secretary said Jen Psaki said about the idea. “Maybe we should all be relieved.”
“You’re welcome America,” she added. “We need him for many things.”
https://www.politico.com/news/2022/04/20/biden-administration-kyiv-embassy-reopening-00026538?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication The Biden admin is considering reopening the US embassy in Kyiv