European Union not following US lead in evacuating Ukraine embassy staff, official says

European Union not following US lead in evacuating Ukraine embassy staff, official says

The European Union will not be following the United States’ lead in ordering the families of embassy personnel in Ukraine to evacuate the country over concerns about a potential Russian invasion, an official announced Monday. 

EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell made the declaration as NATO revealed its sending fighter jets and ships to the region, where tensions are increasing by the day. 

“We are not going to do the same thing,” Borell said Monday when asked whether the EU would follow a U.S. move and order the families of European embassy personnel in Ukraine to leave. 

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, right, speaks with Croatia's Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, right, speaks with Croatia’s Foreign Minister Gordan Grlic Radman during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the European Council building in Brussels, Belgium, on Monday. (AP/Virginia Mayo)

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Borell added that he is keen to hear from Secretary of State Antony Blinken about the U.S.’ decision to do so, according to the Associated Press.  

“We are showing unprecedented unity about the situation in Ukraine, with the strong coordination with the U.S.,” Borell also said after chairing a meeting in Brussels between EU foreign ministers. 

U.S. officials told Fox News over the weekend that the State Department has ordered families of U.S. Embassy personnel in Ukraine to begin evacuating the country as soon as Monday. 

Members of Ukraine's Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday.

Members of Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Forces, volunteer military units of the Armed Forces, train in a city park in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Saturday. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

Next week, the State Department is also expected to encourage Americans to begin leaving Ukraine by commercial flights, “while those are still available,” one official said. 

Britain on Monday also announced it is withdrawing some diplomats and dependents from its embassy in Kyiv. The Foreign Office said the move was “in response to the growing threat from Russia.” 

But Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko, said the U.S. decision was “a premature step” and a sign of “excessive caution.” He said that Russia is sowing panic among Ukrainians and foreigners in order to destabilize Ukraine. 

A woman walks past the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday.

A woman walks past the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, on Monday. (AP/Efrem Lukatsky)

Germany is monitoring developments, but German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed that “we must not contribute to unsettling the situation further; we need to continue to support the Ukrainian government very clearly and above all maintain the stability of the country.” 

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The EU on Monday also proposed a $1.35 billion aid package for Ukraine – made up of emergency loans and grants – to support it in the medium and long term.

“This package will help Ukraine now to address its financing needs due to the conflict,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche, Lucas Tomlinson, Nana Sajaia and the Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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