Watch CBS News

U.S. Embassy in Kyiv resumes operations 3 months after closing because of war

Ukraine collects evidence for war crimes cases
Ukraine collects evidence for war crimes cases 02:13

Washington — The U.S. Embassy in Kyiv reopened Wednesday, three months after closing its doors and suspending operations in Ukraine's capital just before Russia invaded the country.

The State Department marked the resumption of embassy operations in Ukraine's capital with the raising of the American flag outside the facility at 8 p.m. local time, which Secretary of State Antony Blinken called a "momentous step."

"The Ukrainian people, with our security assistance, have defended their homeland in the face of Russia's unconscionable invasion, and, as a result, the Stars and Stripes are flying over the Embassy once again," Blinken said in a statement. "We stand proudly with, and continue to support, the government and people of Ukraine as they defend their country from the Kremlin's brutal war of aggression."

The Biden administration has implemented additional safety measures for State Department staff working at the embassy in Kyiv and enhanced "security measures and protocols," Blinken said. 

Russia Ukraine War US
Employees of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv raise the American flag on Wednesday, May 18, 2022. Efrem Lukatsky / AP

"We are committed to confronting the challenges ahead. The war rages on. Russia's forces inflict death and destruction on Ukrainian soil every day. Millions of Ukrainians are displaced from their homes and mourn the loss of their loved ones," he continued. "With strength of purpose, we reaffirm our commitment to the people and government of Ukraine, and we look forward to carrying out our mission from the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv."

The Biden administration withdrew U.S. diplomats from Kyiv on February 12 as the threat of a Russian invasion of Ukraine grew. State Department personnel were first evacuated to Lviv, a city in western Ukraine that is close to the Polish border, and then left the country after Russian forces flooded into Ukraine and its war intensified.

Staff started making trips back to Lviv in early May, and a small group of American diplomats returned to the embassy in Kyiv on May 8, the eve of Russia's Victory Day commemorations marking its role in defeating Nazi Germany in World War II.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.