Diplomatic Briefing

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Newsline: Diplomats Urge State Department to Aid Ukrainian Embassy Staff Left Behind

Nearly 400 State Department personnel have pressed the department’s leadership to do more to aid locally hired Ukrainian embassy staff who were left behind as Russian troops invade. In an emailed letter reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, the foreign service officers and other staff criticized the department’s “lack of responsiveness” to requests for help from their Ukrainian colleagues. The State Department has sought to assure staff that the safety and wellbeing of local Ukrainians employed by the embassy in Kyiv and the U.S. Agency for International Development was a top priority. But the staff in the letter said their concerns had gone unaddressed. “Our Ukrainian colleagues deserve better,” the letter dated Feb. 24 said. “Now is the time they most need our help. We are concerned their needs have not been prioritized.” State Department spokesman Ned Price called locally employed embassy staff the “heart of our embassies around the world,” and said Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his leadership are regularly in touch with locally-employed Kyiv staff. (https://www.wsj.com/livecoverage/russia-ukraine-latest-news/card/GhT8F9IUljIPRwvrLpc2) The Bureau for European and Eurasian Affairs is working on an official response to the letter, one U.S. official said.

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