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US reopens embassy in Ukrainian capital

“The people of Ukraine, with our security assistance, defended their homeland from the unconscionable invasion of Russia and therefore the stars and stripes once again fly over the embassy,” said Blinken. “We proudly support the government and people of Ukraine and continue to support them as they defend their country against the Kremlin’s brutal war of aggression.”

Blinken said the Biden administration has “proposed additional measures to increase the security of our colleagues returning to Kyiv and has strengthened our security measures and protocols.”

A person familiar with the embassy’s reopening plans told POLITICO it would only resume operations in a limited capacity and consular services would not be offered.

Wednesday’s reopening ceremony was delayed by around an hour due to an airstrike warning in Kyiv, underscoring the threat that persists more than a month after Russian ground forces withdrew from the area around the capital Ukrainian.

Chargé d’affaires Kristina Kvien, currently on leave, was not present at the reopening ceremony, where a small contingent of diplomats raised the American flag above the embassy’s closed compound.

The person familiar with embassy operations said US Marines are not present at the embassy; the complex is guarded by diplomatic security and the Ukrainian national guard and police forces.

Diplomatic security has been a hot topic in the United States for years, largely due to the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Republicans have used this tragedy to launch multiple investigations into Democratic leaders.

But some senior officials in President Joe Biden’s administration, including Blinken, have said the US government needs to shake off what many have called a bunker mentality when it comes to its diplomacy.

Nahal Toosi reported from Washington, DC

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