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LIVE: US Seeks Reopening of Embassy in Kiev, Evaluates Security

  • Photo taken on Nov. 23, 2021 shows the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States.

    Photo taken on Nov. 23, 2021 shows the White House in Washington, D.C., the United States. | Photo: Ting Shen/Xinhua

Published 18 April 2022

On Feb. 28, President Vodolymyr Zelensky signed an official appeal to the EU, asking for Ukraine's accession via a new special procedure.

The Ukrainian conflict continued as the western city of Lviv reported missile strikes on Monday morning. The following are the latest developments:

Russia asks Montenegro to clarify on statement about break of diplomatic relations

Russia’s embassy in Podgorica has sent a note to the Foreign Ministry of Montenegro asking it to clarify on its earlier statement about the need to break diplomatic relations with Russia, an embassy official told TASS on Monday.

"We have sent a note to the Foreign Ministry of Montenegro, asking them to provide relevant clarifications," the official said.

Earlier, the Foreign Ministry of Montenegro tweeted a statement by the country’s Foreign Minister Djordje Radulovic about the need to break diplomatic relations with Russia, but a few hours later the statement was deleted from Twitter.

US seeks to reopen its embassy in Kiev, evaluates security considerations - White House

The US is seeking to reopen its embassy in Kiev, but this issue is still under consideration because it is necessary to ensure safety of diplomats, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki told a briefing on Monday.

"Well, certainly that’s our objective is to open it [the embassy]. But what we are evaluating is, obviously, security considerations and when the State Department is prepared to do that," she said commenting the decision of Spain to resume the work of its diplomatic mission in Kiev, following Italy, France and a number of other European countries.

"Obviously, having a diplomatic presence on the ground is important," Psaki assured.

But it is the State Department, that should give its recommendation regarding "who should go first" and "how many people and when," she added.

"But it’s all done through the State Department," Psaki said.

Earlier, the State Department reported that the bulk of the US diplomatic mission in Ukraine is working from Poland. Prior to this, the United States temporarily moved its embassy from Kiev to Lvov.

Macron cautions against shaping red lines on Ukraine for Russia

French President Emmanuel Macron cautioned on Monday against designating the red lines on Ukraine for Russia, to avoid France’s being involved in the conflict.

"Talking about the red lines today means talking at the same time about what action we are ready to take, what are the goals and what will be the consequences from becoming a party to the conflict and actually going to war with Russia," Macron said on France-5 TV channel.

The French leader reiterated that in 2018, Western countries confirmed the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian authorities, after which a joint strike was made on the country by the US, UK and France.

"Going to war with Russia means going to war with a nuclear state. This is a high responsibility that cannot be taken that easily," Macron stressed. With this in view, the French leader stressed the importance of a cautious approach and called for action within the framework of international law.

Ukraine supports idea of humanitarian contact group - UN senior official

Ukraine's authorities have supported the idea of setting up an international humanitarian contact group involving Ukraine, Russia and the United Nations, UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Martin Griffiths said on Monday.

"They agreed to the idea of this what we are calling a humanitarian contact group I've just been describing. They agreed to the idea of ceasefire and the local ones," he said.

According to Griffiths, the United Nations is expecting a response from Russia. "We have yet to get the same response from the Russian Federation," he said, adding that it is easy to accuse each other of violating ceasefires unless such contacts are established.


Pentagon does not comment on data about US weapons destroyed in Ukraine

The Pentagon has made no comment on the Russian Defense Ministry statement, saying that major consignments of weapons arriving in Ukraine from the US and European countries were destroyed by the Russian army.

"We have nothing to offer you on this," a source from the US Department of Defense told TASS on Monday when asked to comment on the Defense Ministry’s statement.

Earlier on Monday, Russian Defense Ministry Spokesman Igor Konashenkov reported that in the morning, high-precision missiles of the Russian Aerospace Forces delivered a strike on the 124th Joint Logistics Support Center of the Ukrainian troops’ Logistics Forces Command in the area of Lviv. "The logistics center and large consignments of foreign weapons that arrived in Ukraine over the past six days from the US and European countries were destroyed," the major general said.


UNHCR Increases the Number of Ukrainian Refugees to 4.8 Million

Ukraine sends a questionnaire for EU membership to European Commission. On Monday, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration Olha Stefanishyna said her country sent to the European Commission (EC) the first part of a questionnaire aimed at achieving candidate status for European Union (EU) membership.

The 1,156-page document contains the answers to 374 questions regarding Ukraine's compliance with the criteria for EU membership in the political and economic spheres.
The other part of the questionnaire, which covers questions on the compliance of Ukrainian legislation with EU laws, will be sent to the EC soon.

On Feb. 28, President Zelensky signed an official appeal to the EU, asking for Ukraine's accession via a new special procedure. The EC President Ursula von der Leyen handed over a questionnaire to Zelensky during her visit to Kiev on April 8, and promised a speedier process for Ukraine to join the EU.

Russia expels several Bulgarian diplomats. The Russian Foreign Ministry declared several Bulgarian diplomats "persona non grata" in response to the earlier expulsion of ten employees of the Russian diplomatic delegation in Sofia.

On March 18, Russian diplomats were expelled from Bulgaria for carrying out "activities incompatible with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations." Since the start of the special operation on February 24, some 420 diplomats have been expelled from Europe, the U.K. and the United States. This is the maximum number of expulsions in over 20 years as some 418 Russian diplomats were also expelled between 2000 and 2021.

Missiles struck Ukraine's western city of Lviv on Monday morning. Six people were killed and eight others wounded on Monday in missile strikes on Lviv, said Maksym Kozytsky, head of the Lviv regional military-civilian administration.

Russian troops have launched four missile strikes on the city, he confirmed, noting that three missiles hit military infrastructure, and another one struck a tire service center. City Mayor Andriy Sadovyi said that the emergency services rushed to the site of the blasts.

"Plumes of thick, black smoke rose over the city after a series of explosions shattered windows and started fires. Lviv and the rest of western Ukraine have seen only sporadic strikes during almost two months of war," AP reported

Ukraine will not give up territories to end the conflict. On Sunday, President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country has no guarantee that Russia wouldn't try to seize Kiev again if it is able to capture Donbas.

Russia's largest bank intercepted large-scale attacks on bank cards. The attempts were initiated by a Ukrainian developer of mobile applications, Stanislav Kuznetsov, deputy chairman of the Sberbank's executive board. The company, whose name was not released, tried to write off funds from those who own Sberbank's cards.

"Almost immediately after the start of the special operation, we stopped the massive debiting of funds from the cards of our clients. Moreover, the number of debit attempts reached ten thousand per minute," Kuznetsov said.

Ukraine's budget deficit is US$8 billion a month. Economic advisor to the Ukrainian President Oleh Ustenko called on the Group of Seven (G7) countries to provide US$50 billion to help Ukraine close its budget gap.

"If the G7 provided US$50 billion in new financing, that would resolve the deficit issue for at least another six months," Ustenko told The New Yorker, adding that the country's budget deficit at about US$8 billion a month due to the conflict with Russia.

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