On Monday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the complete shutdown of the US embassy in Belarus. He also stated that the State Department has permitted US diplomats in Russia to leave the country, with only necessary employees remaining.
“We took these actions in response to security and safety concerns raised by Russia’s aggressive and illegal invasion in Ukraine,” the US official said.
The agency stated that “the safety and security of US people,” including its personnel and their families, was its top concern.
The US embassy in Moscow has previously warned US people to leave Russia “immediately,” citing an increasing transportation decoupling between Russia and Western nations. Americans should not travel to Russia, according to the warning, because of the “potential for harassment against US citizens” and the embassy’s limited capacity to assist them.
The EU stated on Sunday that Russian passenger jets will not be allowed to fly within its airspace. Similar limitations were implemented by other countries outside the bloc, such as the United Kingdom. In a tit-for-tat move, Russia barred flights from 36 countries and overseas territories on Monday.
The rising tensions coincide with the start of a Russian military incursion against Ukraine on Thursday. To assure the safety of the separatist Ukrainian areas of Donetsk and Lugansk, as well as Russia itself, the nation stated it needed to “demilitarise” and “denazify” its neighbour. Belarus, a Russian military partner, supplied its land for the invasion but denied sending its own forces, despite Ukraine’s assertions.
Ukraine is accused of aggression by Kiev and its Western backers. They retaliated with unprecedentedly tough penalties aimed at crippling Russia’s economy, as well as a vow to increase arms shipments to Kiev.