US diplomats return to Ukrainian capital for first time since invasion
The United States is one step closer to opening its embassy in Kyiv after its top diplomat to Ukraine visited the country on Sunday.
Kristina Kvien and her team returned to Ukraine’s capital for the first time since Russia’s invasion began in February. The trip, timed to sync up with Victory in Europe Day, sought to reaffirm a pledge Secretary of State Antony Blinken made last month to reopen the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.
“The Secretary informed Foreign Minister Kuleba that our Charge d’Affaires Kristina Kvien and a small group of diplomats, accompanied by State Department security, traveled to Kyiv to conduct diplomatic engagement in advance of the planned resumption of Embassy Kyiv operations,” State Department spokesman Ned Price said.
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The temporary visit does not signal the permanent reopening of the embassy, but it coincided with the European holiday commemorating Nazi Germany’s surrender in 1945.
Kvien, the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, and her team are the first U.S. diplomats to visit Kyiv since the invasion began, though other U.S. officials have made visits to the country, including Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
“Just arrived in Kyiv! Delighted to be back on Victory in Europe Day. Slava Ukraini!” the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv tweeted.
U.S. first lady Jill Biden made a visit to Ukraine on Sunday as well to see Ukrainian first lady Olena Zelenska.
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The Biden administration withdrew U.S. diplomats from Kyiv on Feb. 12 ahead of the anticipated Russian conflict.