US Suspends Operations at Belarus Embassy

Nonessential staff at the Moscow embassy are leaving Russia
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 28, 2022 12:17 PM CST
US Closes Embassy in Belarus
Secretary of State Antony Blinken speaks during a news conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the State Department last week.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)

The State Department has closed the US embassy in Belarus and is allowing nonessential staff at the US Embassy in Russia to leave the country because of the war in Ukraine. Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the suspension of operations at the Minsk embassy and the authorized departure from Moscow in a statement on Monday, the AP reports. "We took these steps due to security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine," he said.

In a video message Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky rebuked Belarusians for allowing their country to be used as a staging ground for the Russian invasion, reports the AP. "The Russian military is launching missiles at Ukraine from your territory. From your territory they are kiling our children, they are destroying our homes and trying to blow up everything that has been built for decades." In an emotional speech, the Ukrainian leader questioned how Belarusians will be able “to look into the eyes of your children, into the eyes of each other.” He added: "We are your neighbors. Be Belarus, not Russia!" Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko quickly shot back, denigrating the Ukrainian president as an American puppet. (Belarus may actually join in the fighting.)

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