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NATO temporarily closes Kiev office, employees to be transferred

As tensions continue to rise between Russia and its neighboring country of Ukraine, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has temporarily closed its Kiev office and is set to transfer those staff members to Brussels and Lviv.

While Ukraine is not a member of NATO, and Russia is demanding that it never gains membership, a NATO representative said on Sunday that the organization’s mission in Ukraine is still functioning.

The alliance is currently monitoring and keeping track of the situation surrounding Ukraine and its mounting tensions with Russia and taking necessary precautions as concerns arise, the NATO representative said in an e-mail communication to Norway’s Verdens Gang (VG) newspaper.

Because the safety of employees is the primary priority for NATO, all staff have been relocated to Lviv and Brussels. The official did say, though, that the offices in Ukraine would still be operational, at least for the time being.

Last week, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia announced their decision to relocate their embassies from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev to the western city of Lviv over security concerns.

Norway has not yet made the same move, but the country said it is closely watching ongoing developments and changes. Many countries have opted to evacuate their non-essential diplomatic staff members and families of diplomats from Ukraine amid the increasing tensions.

Tourists and nationals of many countries including Finland, Belgium, New Zealand, and Germany were encouraged to exit Ukraine as soon as possible.

So far, Russia has denied Western and Ukrainian allegations that it is preparing for an invasion, despite amassing over 100,000 troops at the border between the two countries. It has also expressed serious concerns over NATO’s military activity around its borders, which it is considering a threat to the country’s national security. 

ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG

MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE

PHOTO CREDITS: APA.AZ

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