The State Department reopened the US embassy in Kyiv on Wednesday — more than three months after shutting down operations ahead of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that Ukraine’s stunning initial success in fighting off Moscow’s drive at the capital allowed for the embassy to reopen.
“Today we are officially resuming operations at the US Embassy in Kyiv,” Blinken said. “The Ukrainian people, with our security assistance, have defended their homeland in the face of Russia’s unconscionable invasion, and, as a result, the Stars and Stripes are flying over the Embassy once again.”
A State Department official told The Post that the US Marine Corps does not currently have members deployed to protect embassy staff — as is standard at US embassies elsewhere in the world.
“There is not [a Marine Security Guard] detachment presently in Kyiv, but the Department does plan to assign an MSG detachment at a later date,” the official said.
The State Department official further said that in-person consular services, “including services for US citizens and visa services,” are still “suspended until further notice.”
The embassy announced it would close on Feb. 14 — 10 days before Russia invaded — as US intelligence assessed that Russian President Vladimir Putin was poised to order the attack.
“As we take this momentous step, we have put forward additional measures to increase the safety of our colleagues who are returning to Kyiv and have enhanced our security measures and protocols,” Blinken said.
“We are committed to confronting the challenges ahead,” he added. “The war rages on. Russia’s forces inflict death and destruction on Ukrainian soil every day.”
Russian troops poured into Ukraine after Russia recognized the independence of two pro-Moscow separatist states that broke with Kyiv in 2014. But forces loyal to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government blocked a swift takeover of the former Soviet republic.
Russia withdrew troops from northern Ukraine, including areas around Kyiv, in early April to refocus on seizing southern and eastern areas of the country. But Ukrainian troops this month pushed back invading forces in the northeast to the Russian border near Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city.
Despite Ukraine’s unexpected success, Russia has scored some victories, including the capitulation this week by a group of Ukrainian troops who were holed up for three months in a steel plant in Mariupol. The end of that standoff allows Russia uninterrupted control of Ukrainian territory along the Sea of Azov leading to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia annexed following a disputed 2014 referendum.