US evacuates CIA station
The American authorities have moved Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officers away from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev, against the backdrop of a purportedly imminent Russian invasion.
The decision, reported on Tuesday by American publication The New York Times, means that CIA personnel will instead be located in Lviv, the largest city in the west of the country, near the border with Poland.
According to the Times, the decision, taken for safety reasons, could put the US in the dark regarding Russian activities in Ukraine, and may hinder the ongoing US mission to harvest intelligence there. In recent times, officers have been working on exposing various alleged Russian plots to overthrow Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government.
The move by the White House to relocate the CIA follows the decision on Monday to also temporarily relocate US diplomats to Lviv. That consulate will continue operating as normal, with a small number of employees remaining in the capital. White House Spokesperson Ned Price refused to disclose the exact figure when asked at a news briefing on Monday.
Monday also saw a recommendation from the US State Department that American nationals leave Belarus and Transnistria, a breakaway region in Moldova. US citizens had already been told to get out of Ukraine.
Yesterday’s announcement of CIA redeployment comes amid fears of an imminent Russian invasion, despite Moscow yesterday beginning the withdrawal of its troops from the Ukraine border, as military drills come to a close. The US viewed the joint combat training as a precursor to a Russian invasion of Ukraine, and considered Russia’s removal of troops to be not “verified.”