The United States is closing its embassy in Ukraine as it continued to warn of an imminent attack by Russia, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The State Department reportedly ordered the destruction of the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv's networking equipment and computer workstations, as well as to dismantle its telephone system.
“Those moves render the Kyiv embassy inoperable as a diplomatic facility,” WSJ reported, citing unnamed U.S. officials and internal communications.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement that he was relocating the U.S. Embassy from Kyiv to Lviv due to “the dramatic acceleration” of Russian troops near the Ukrainian border.
The closure was reported as Russia’s foreign minister advised President Vladimir Putin to continue security dialogue with the U.S., marking a shift in tone after months of heated rhetoric over Moscow’s demands.
The Kremlin on Saturday denounced U.S. "peak hysteria" surrounding the Ukraine conflict amid dozens of countries’ evacuation recommendations, flight suspensions and a flurry of diplomatic activity aimed at averting a potential invasion.
Months of negotiations have so far failed to ease tensions, with U.S. warnings that the more than 100,000 Russian troops surrounding Ukraine could invade as early as Wednesday.
WSJ reported that 56 embassy workers arrived in Washington with the mission’s classified materials on Sunday, the day after the State Department ordered non-emergency staff to leave.
According to Saturday’s advisory, the State Department would maintain a small consular presence in Lviv in western Ukraine to handle emergencies.
The U.S. Embassy website on Monday issued a series of recommendations for its citizens to leave Ukraine via land borders with Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova.
“U.S. citizens in Ukraine should be aware that the U.S. government will not be able to evacuate U.S. citizens in the event of Russian military action anywhere in Ukraine,” it said.