The United States on Wednesday reopened its embassy to Kyiv, according to the State Department, three months after the embassy moved its diplomatic operations to Poland due to Russia’s invasion.
In a statement, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the U.S. had resumed operations in the Ukrainian capital, adding that the “Stars and Stripes are flying over the Embassy once again.”
Blinken said the U.S. has “enhanced our security measures and protocols” to ensure the safety of American diplomats returning to Kyiv, and pledged to “continue to support” the people of Ukraine “as they defend their country from the Kremlin’s brutal war of aggression.”
Embassy spokesperson Daniel Langenkamp told Reuters Wednesday a handful of diplomats will return to Kyiv but consular operations will not resume immediately.
The return comes after several countries, including France, Italy and the United Kingdom, resumed operations in Kyiv over the past month after Russian troops failed to capture the capital and withdrew from the area to refocus on eastern Ukraine.
The move comes two weeks after American diplomats returned to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, saying they hoped to come back to their original home of Kyiv by the end of May as long as it was safe to do so. The U.S. first closed down its embassy to Kyiv on February 14 to move operations to Lviv before relocating staff once again to Poland on February 21, three days before Russia’s invasion began. Upon American diplomats’ May return to Lviv, Kristina Kvien, the U.S. charg? d’affaires to Ukraine and highest-ranking American diplomat in the country, said she wanted to send a message to Russia that its invasion had “failed,” the government is “still functioning” and diplomats will eventually return to Kyiv to help Ukraine. A host of American officials have traveled to Kyiv to meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, including Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).