A European Union official on Monday said the 27-nation bloc will not follow the United States’ decision to evacuate personnel and family members from the Ukrainian embassy in the midst of heightened tensions between Russia and the West.
“We are not going to do the same thing,” EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell declared at a meeting.
Borrell said he is looking to hear from Secretary of State Antony Blinken surrounding the State Department’s decision to evacuate some personnel.
“We know very well what the degree of threats are and the way in which we must react, and no doubt we must avoid alarmist reactions,” Borrell said on Monday. “You have to stay calm doing what you have to do, and avoid a nervous breakdown.”
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen similarly issued a statement after the State Department said on Sunday night that some evacuations would start, saying that “the EU stands by Ukraine in these difficult circumstances” while announcing “a new financial assistance package to the country made of both emergency loans and grants.”
“We are firm in our resolve,” von der Leyen said. “The EU has already provided significant assistance to Ukraine, both to support the country’s resilience and modernization, and specifically to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2014, the EU and European financial institutions have allocated over EUR 17 billion in grants and loans to the country.”
According to a statement from the State Department, family members of U.S. government employees at the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv were asked to leave the Ukrainian capital.
“Authorized departure gives these employees the option to depart if they wish; their departure is not required,” the embassy said on Sunday. “Ordered departure for family members requires that family members leave the country.
Ukrainian officials have said that decisions made by the United States, UK, and other countries to evacuate staff are premature. Australia and Germany also confirmed some staff would depart Ukraine, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry told news outlets.
The Ukrainian ministry said in a statement Monday that there are 129 foreign consulates and embassies, and they have confirmed they will not evacuate.
On Monday, meanwhile, the United States placed about 8,500 troops on standby in case NATO activates its Response Force or if the situation in Eastern Europe deteriorates further, a chief Pentagon spokesperson confirmed.
“It’s really important to keep remembering that no deployment orders have been set, and no missions have been assigned. This is really about getting folks ready to go in case they’re needed,” Kirby told reporters in Washington.
From The Epoch Times