US embassy rejects claims of Afghan-style evacuation from Ukraine
American diplomats in Kiev have rejected claims in Western media that Washington is reviewing how to ensure government personnel and citizens can be kept out of harm’s way in case of conflict with Russia.
On Tuesday, the US embassy in Kiev dismissed rumors that plans were
being drawn up to rescue American nationals if a war broke out, writing on Twitter that “contrary to news reports, [the] US [government] is not currently considering evacuations of … personnel or American citizens from Ukraine.”
“We conduct normal contingency planning, as we always do, in the event the security situation severely deteriorates,” the diplomatic service said.
The comments come after CNN claimed that President Joe Biden’s administration is exploring contingency plans for potentially pulling out its citizens in Ukraine if Russian troops were to invade the country.
According to the outlet’s sources, Washington’s officials currently do not see a need for evacuation missions as the Eastern European nation’s international airports and land borders remain open. However, discussions were reportedly underway for if the situation takes a turn for the worst.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby has also rejected the claims. “The Department of Defense is a planning organization and must be ready for any manner of contingencies around the world ... But there is no demand signal for civilian evacuations in Ukraine, and it would be wrong to conclude that there is an active effort in the Pentagon to prepare for them,” he said in a statement to the outlet.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, however, stepped out to denounce the publication, writing on her Telegram channel that the claims amounted to “fake garbage” and “‘passion over Ukraine’ is gaining momentum, elevating morbid fantasies about ‘Russian aggression.’”
Moscow has repeatedly denied accusations in recent weeks from Western officials and outlets that Russia is beefing up its military at its shared frontier with Ukraine. Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov blasted recent reports as “groundless.”
In early November, a report from US news site Politico, which alleged Russian troops were being deployed in increasing numbers near the Ukrainian border, came under fire from officials. Satellite imagery published alongside the article purported to depict hardware stacking up near the city of Yelnya, which is actually located hundreds of kilometers from Ukraine, and closer to Belarus.