The EU will not withdraw the families of diplomats in Ukraine for now, according to Borrell

FILE PHOTO: European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell attends a meeting with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmygal in Kiev, Ukraine January 6, 2022. Ukrainian Government Press Service/ Handout via REUTERS

Jan 24 (Reuters) – The European Union does not plan to withdraw diplomats’ families from Ukraine for the time being, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said on Monday after Washington announced such a move. noting that a Russian military attack could come at any moment.

The US State Department announced on Sunday that it was ordering relatives of diplomats to leave Ukraine, in one of the clearest signs yet that US leaders are preparing for an aggressive move by Russia in the region.

“We are not going to do the same because we don’t know any concrete reasons. But Secretary (of State, Antony) Blinken will inform us,” Borrell told reporters on Monday upon arrival at a meeting with his EU counterparts to which Blinken is expected to come online around 1400 GMT.

Tensions in Ukraine have been rising for months after the Kremlin massed some 100,000 troops near Ukraine’s borders, a dramatic buildup the West sees as preparing for a war to prevent Ukraine from joining the NATO security alliance.

The Kremlin has repeatedly denied it is planning an invasion, but the Russian military already seized some Ukrainian territory when it seized Crimea and backed separatist forces that seized control of large parts of eastern Ukraine eight years ago.

“Negotiations are under way,” Borrell said, adding that he saw no reason to leave Ukraine “unless Secretary Blinken gives us information that justifies a move.”

EU foreign ministers are expected to issue a warning to Russia over its troop surge on the Ukraine border.

(Reporting by Sabine Siebold, Marine Strauss and Robin Emmott, translated by José Muñoz in the Gdańsk newsroom)

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