The Russian embassy in Kyiv is operating in a standard way, the Russian Foreign Ministry has claimed on Tuesday following a New York Times report that Moscow had begun evacuating the families of envoys in Ukraine but did not deny any downsizing.
Citing anonymous officials, the New York Times has claimed in a report on Monday that due to the rising tensions on the Russian-Ukraine border, Moscow has started slowly evacuating its diplomats and their families from its embassy in Kyiv and the consulate in Lviv.
According to NYT, 18 people, mainly wives and children of Russian diplomats, have left Ukraine on January 5 followed by another 30 people in the two weeks after while the diplomats from two other Russian consulates (Kharkiv and Odesa) had reportedly been told to prepare to leave the country
Although the newspaper claimed that officials from both the US and Ukraine have allegedly confirmed that Russian diplomats had left, Ukraine Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson, Oleg Nikolenko, claims that the ministry received no information from the Russian side about the evacuation of employees of Russian diplomatic missions from Ukraine.
Nikolenko also stressed that, despite the difficult conditions, the Ukraine ministry does not plan to evacuate Ukrainian diplomats from Russia, pointing that the Embassy in Moscow, the consulates general in St. Petersburg and Rostov-on-Don, and the consulates in Yekaterinburg and Novosibirsk are operating as usual.
Evacuations’ reports come as Western nations are accusing Moscow of troop build-up on the border with Ukraine with the intent of invading the country in the recent future, accusations that the Kremlin has repeatedly denied.
CNN went as far last week to claim that Russia has deployed operatives trained in urban warfare to sabotage against Russia’s own proxy forces as a pretext for military intervention in Ukraine, echoing US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan’s claims that US intelligence believes Moscow has a scenario ready where it can justify a military incursion into Ukraine.
Moscow, on the other hand, believes that the US and NATO are using the “Russian aggression” pretext to deploy more troops and military equipment in the region.