US weighs evacuating diplomats’ family members from Ukraine

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The US is weighing whether to evacuate family members of diplomats stationed in Ukraine as Russia masses more than 100,000 troops on its borders, according to people familiar with the matter.

Under the plan, non-essential staff would be able to leave voluntarily while family members would be ordered to return home.

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An announcement may come within days, according to the people, who asked not to be identified before a decision is reached.

The Biden administration has increased its warnings over a potential invasion as Russia continues to build up its forces near Ukraine’s borders. A decision to evacuate wouldn’t mean the US is certain that Russia will invade and simply reflects prudent preparations as tensions rise, one of the people said.

State Department officials declined to comment.

At a meeting in Geneva on Friday with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken agreed to provide written responses to Russian demands and meet again in an effort to resolve the impasse over Ukraine diplomatically. But

Blinken told reporters “if Russia wants to begin to convince the world that it has no aggressive intent toward Ukraine, a very good place to start would be de-escalating.”

Lavrov dismissed Western “hysteria over Ukraine” and repeated that Moscow has no plans to attack its neighbor.

The New York Times reported earlier this month that Russia has evacuated family members and some staff from its diplomatic missions in Ukraine.

Read more: US, Russia kick off critical talks on Ukraine war fears

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