U.S. diplomats return to embassy in Kyiv ahead of Russia's Victory Day
A group of American diplomats returned to the U.S. Embassy in Kyiv for the first time in nearly three months on Sunday, traveling to the Ukrainian capital one day before Russia's Victory Day commemorations, when the country marks the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.
"Just arrived in Kyiv! Delighted to be back on Victory in Europe Day. Slava Ukraini! We #standwithUkraine," Kristina Kvien, the U.S. charges d'affair, wrote on the embassy's Twitter account. The U.S. and the West celebrate the end of World War II in Europe on May 8, while Russia and many former Soviet republics recognize May 9 as the end of the 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. State Department sources said the embassy hopes to fully resume operations at the embassy in Kyiv and raise the American flag there in the coming weeks.
The move is part of the U.S. effort to counteract Russian propaganda surrounding the conflict, which the U.S. expects to see from the Kremlin on May 9, one U.S. official told CBS News.
"The Russians will do everything they can to use the date in terms of their propaganda effort," State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters last Monday. "I am quite confident you'll be hearing more from the United States, from our partners, including our NATO partners, in the lead-up to May 9 as well."