Washington — On Sunday, a group of American diplomats traveled to Kyiv to mark the victory of Nazi Germany during World War II.
” Just arrived in Kyiv It is a pleasure to return on Victory in Europe Day. Slava Ukraini! We #standwithUkraine,” Kristina Kvien, the U.S. charges d’affair, wrote on the embassy’s Twitter account. While the West and the U.S. celebrate May 8 as the end to World War II in Europe, Russia and other former Soviet republics acknowledge May 9 for the end of war.
The U.S. diplomats’ return to the embassy was meant to underscore Russian President Vladimir Putin’s failure to capture the Ukrainian capital early in the conflict, which has now transformed into a grinding war of attrition in the country’s south and east. Sources from the State Department said that the Embassy hopes to resume full operations in Kyiv at the Embassy in Kyiv, and fly the American flag in those areas in the next few weeks.
This is part of the U.S. attempt to combat Russian propaganda around the conflict. The U.S. expected to hear from the Kremlin May 9th, according to a U.S. official.
” The Russians will use this date for propaganda purposes,” Ned Price, a spokesperson from the State Department told reporters on Monday. I am confident that you will hear more from America, our NATO partners and our allies in the days leading up to May 9. “
Putin falsely claims that the invasion of Ukraine — what he has called an ongoing “special military operation” — is an effort to remove Nazis from power there.
The Biden administration withdrew American diplomats from Kyiv on February 12 in order to avoid the risk of potential fatalities that would threaten to draw the U.S. directly into the conflict.
U.S. diplomats were evacuated first to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, closer to the border with NATO ally Poland, ahead of Russia’s invasion on February 24, and then taken out of the country as the war intensified. To be able work with Ukrainian counterparts, Embassy staff made day trips to Lviv in the early part of last week. At the start of April, Russian forces pulled out from Kyiv.
President Biden participated in a conference call on Sunday with leaders from the Group of Seven countries, including Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Ukrainian president. In a joint statement, the G-7 countries stated that the U.S. had announced additional sanctions against Russia in response to its invasion.
Camilla Schick contributed to this report.