Wed, 18 May 2022

Moscow [Russia], January 18 (ANI/Sputnik): The Russian Embassy in Kiev is working as usual, the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Tuesday.

"The Russian Embassy in Kiev is working as per normal," the ministry told reporters.

The New York Times reported on Monday, citing a senior Ukrainian security official, that Russia was going to evacuate diplomats from Ukraine. According to the official, Russia began "thinning out" its embassy in Kiev on January 5. Allegedly 18 individuals, mostly including children and spouses of Russian diplomats, boarded buses heading to Russia.

The US official added that over the next few days they were followed by about 30 more people from Russian embassy in Kiev and consulate in Lviv. The exact number of diplomats among the alleged evacuees is unknown. He also claimed that diplomats at two other Russian consulates were instructed to leave Ukraine as well.

Tensions around Ukraine intensified over the past several months after Russia was accused of building up troops near the Ukrainian border, allegedly preparing for an invasion. Moscow has denied the accusations, pointing to NATO's military activity near Russian borders, which it deems a threat to its national security. Russia says it has the right to move forces within its own territory.

In December, Russia presented its draft proposals on security guarantees to the United States and NATO. On January 10, Russia and the US held a round of the strategic stability dialogue in Geneva. On Wednesday, the first NATO-Russia Council meeting since 2019 took place at NATO headquarters in Brussels. The meeting was followed by Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe talks in Vienna. (ANI/Sputnik)

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