The US Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, resumed its work three months after Russia started a war in the country.

The State Department said last month that US diplomats would begin returning to the country before the embassy in Kyiv reopens. The war is still ongoing, resulting in thousands of civilian and military deaths to date.

“We are officially resuming operations at the US Embassy in Kyiv,” Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said in a statement Wednesday. “The Ukrainian people, with our security assistance, have defended their homeland against the unconscious invasion of Russia, and as a result, stars and stripes are flying over the embassy again.

Additional security measures have been put in place to protect staff returning to Kyiv, the secretary said. He did not go into details about these measures.

Government executive asked the State Department on Thursday if the embassy would return to normal staffing levels between U.S. and local direct employees and, if not, what the situation was.

“The embassy’s operations will remain limited for now,” a spokesman for the department said. “The team will continue to work with the Ukrainian government, civil society, diplomatic and other partners in Ukraine as part of our efforts to support Ukraine in its fight against Russian aggression. The spokesman added that the “Level 4 Do Not Travel” Council for Ukraine for US Citizens is still intact due to ongoing risks.

Russia’s war continues to destroy Ukraine and cause death, Blinken said, but “by virtue of the goal, we reaffirm our commitment to the people and government of Ukraine and look forward to fulfilling our mission at the US Embassy in Kyiv.”

“[The American Foreign Service Association] “I was pleased to see the US flag hoisted over our embassy in Kyiv again yesterday,” said Eric Rubin, president of the association, who previously served as US ambassador to Bulgaria. “Our members in foreign affairs are ready to start work on the ground in Ukraine at this critical time, eventually joining our local staff, our family members and our colleagues from other agencies.

The association “welcomes the decision of the administration and will do everything possible to support the restoration of our diplomatic presence in Ukraine at this critical time,” he added.

In late January, the State Department authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency US officials from Ukraine, and ordered the departure of family members of US employees to the embassy in Kyiv. On February 11, the department further reduced the number of employees only to those performing basic services and ordered the others to leave immediately.

Then on February 14 Blinken announcements that the department was temporarily relocating the embassy in Kyiv to Lviv (which is in western Ukraine, near the border with Poland) due to Russia’s increased build-up. On February 21, employees of the US Embassy in Ukraine were transferred from the country. The American External Action Association is working to provide financial assistance to embassy staff and their families who have been relocated from Ukraine as well as Belarus.

“My first responsibility in this job as secretary is to take care of the well-being of men and women in the State Department,” Blinken told late-night host Stephen Colbert in an interview Wednesday night. Although the staff of the American embassy in Kyiv “did not want to go” when the attack came from Russia, “we had to make a really difficult decision to stop our operations and get people out of danger.”

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