Ukraine-born GOP lawmaker urges State Department



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Representative Victoria Spartz, the first Ukrainian-born member of Congress, is urging the State Department to send its diplomats back to Ukraine.

Indiana Republican Spartz sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday, saying the US should consider redeploying American diplomats to Lviv in western Ukraine to better coordinate with the Ukrainian government. Spartz pointed to the actions of the European Union, which returned its diplomatic corps to Kyiv.

“As the largest provider of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, it is the past that the United States follows our European allies,” Spartz wrote.

The US and other countries pulled their diplomats and evacuated embassies and consulates from Kyiv leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, relocating them to the western city of Lviv. Those officers were soon taken to Poland, to arrive in Lviv, and the State Department suspended all diplomatic services in Lviv just before the Russian invasion began.

In recent days, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has urged more countries to restore their diplomatic presence in the country.

“We need your support, even at the level of symbols and diplomatic gestures. Please come back, everyone who is brave, please come back to our capital and continue working,” Zelensky said last week.

In the early days of the Russian War, the Kremlin sought to capture Kyiv and annex the entire country. But after failing to advance on Kyiv, Moscow shifted its focus in the war away from the capital to the eastern and southern regions.

But given the ongoing fighting and concerns about renewed Russian offensives in eastern Ukraine, the Biden administration is not taking steps to open its embassy in Ukraine in the near future, while other countries have begun to do so. According to two US officials familiar with the matter .

Spartz’s letter marks a public push for America to reconsider that position. A Democratic lawmaker backing the re-establishment of a diplomatic presence in Ukraine said there are questions from the region as to why Americans are not there as other countries have moved back.

However, another Democrat said the State Department has good reason to be cautious about returning Americans to Ukrainian soil. While Russia has resumed its war efforts in the eastern and southern regions of the country, Russia’s air power could still attack Kyiv and Lviv. While any civilian death from NATO countries in Ukraine could threaten to escalate conflict with Russia, there are vastly different implications for the United States, with the lawmaker saying: “It’s a very different security situation and incremental currency.” ”

Ukrainian officials and activists watch other countries move to reopen their embassies and are disappointed with the temporary US currency. The European Union announced last week that it would resume its diplomatic presence in the Ukrainian capital.

Daria Kaleniuk, co-founder and executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, is also urging the US to “immediately” reopen its embassy. Kaleniuk believes that the embassy is symbolically important but also important because it enables visits to Congress and incoming shipments to happen more easily.

“What I learned is the reason why politicians are not coming is because there is no embassy. That’s why the embassy can’t provide them with assistance in coming,” Kaleniuk said after spending last week in a Capitol Hill meeting with lawmakers. “The lack of a US embassy in Ukraine also has a negative impact on the possibility of purchasing advanced weapons. The contractors who are building these advanced weapons see that Ukraine does not even have an embassy and they are on contract with Ukraine. are not able to work.

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