US Closes Embassy in Belarus, Allows Staff to Leave Russia

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Monday that due to the security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine, Washington will fully suspend the operations at the US embassy in Minsk, Belarus.

Stressing that the Department has no higher priority than the safety and security of US citizens, including its employees and their families, Blinken also said that, due to the war in Ukraine, the non-essential staff at the US Embassy in Russia were allowed to leave the country, with only essential personnel staying behind.

The development comes in light of the referendum Belarus held on Sunday to approve a new constitution ditching its non-nuclear status after becoming a launchpad for Russian troops invading Ukraine.

The US Embassy has previously on Sunday underscored in a statement that the dictatorial referendum lacked credibility and legitimacy and is plunging Belarus into the darkness of the past since it’s nothing more than a bad copy of democratic procedures with a sole aim to strengthen the Alexander Lukashenko regime’s grip on power.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a senior American intelligence official with direct knowledge of current US intelligence assessments noted earlier in the day that Minsk could also send troops to help Russia as soon as Monday.

Previously on Sunday, the US Embassy in Russia has warned in an advisory that due to the rising number of airlines that are canceling flights in and out of Russia and closing their airspace to Russian airlines, US nationals should consider leaving immediately via commercial options still available.

The Embassy also reminded the US citizens that the State Department’s Travel Advisory level for Russia is at ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’.

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