US to announce evacuation of its embassy in Kiev on Sat.

TEHRAN, Feb. 12 (MNA) – US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Friday encouraged Americans in Ukraine to leave the country amid the escalation of tensions on the border with Russia.

The United States plans to announce on Saturday that its embassy staff in Kiev will be required to leave the country, according to AP.

According to the report, a limited number of US diplomats could be transferred to western Ukraine, near the border with Poland, so that the US could maintain a diplomatic presence in the country, Sputnik reported.

Earlier, the US State Department ordered families of US embassy staffers in Kiev to leave, but it had left it to the decision of nonessential personnel if they wanted to leave.

The report on a possible evacuation comes amid heightened tensions over Ukraine, with the West escalating claims that Russia is going to "invade" the country. Moscow has, in turn, repeatedly rejected having any such plans, while pointing to NATO military activity near the Russian borders, which it perceives a threat to the country's national security.

On Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that one can talk about the conspiracy of the authorities of Western countries and the media to escalate artificial tension around Ukraine, and that they need it to divert attention from their own aggression.

On Thursday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that Moscow may also advise non-essential personnel at its diplomatic missions in Kiev to leave the country. He stressed that Russia has become concerned by the evacuations of staff by the United Kingdom and the United States as it looks as if "there were preparations for something" in Ukraine.

RHM/PR

News Code 183830

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