US tells Zelensky to leave Kiev – media
With fears of a Russian invasion continuing to increase, Kiev and Washington have begun liaising over plans to move Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to the city of Lviv in the west of the country, NBC News reported on Monday.
Citing two anonymous sources “familiar with the discussions,” it said members of the Biden administration had held discussions about the possibility of Zelensky’s relocation to Ukraine’s second city, located 50 miles from the Polish border, in case of an invasion by the Russian military.
Plans to move the Ukrainian leader followed a US decision last week to relocate its embassy and all diplomats’ activity out of Kiev. Washington also issued warnings to US citizens residing in the Ukrainian capital to evacuate as quickly as possible, citing the possibility of a military incursion by Russian troops. More than 100,000 are reported to already be deployed on the border.
According to NBC, administration officials in the US view Zelensky’s position as “increasingly vulnerable.” However, according to the publication, a spokesperson for the National Security Council declined to comment when asked if any official plans had been implemented.
On Monday, Zelensky and Biden held an emergency phone call after Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to recognize the independence of the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics, two states which broke away from Ukraine in 2014 following the events of the Maidan.
However, a spokesperson for Zelensky denied the story, stating that the Ukrainian leader and Biden did not discuss his possible departure from Kiev and relocation to Lviv during this exchange, NBC reported.