The State Department has instructed staff to destroy computer workstations, phone systems and networking equipment as it relocates the U.S. embassy in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.
The actions were taken as the department moves operations 340 miles west to Lviv, on the border of Poland, and comes amid warnings from allies and U.S. intelligence agencies that an attack by Russian forces may be imminent.
It comes as the U.S. withdraws embassy staff and classified material from the country as the diplomatic situation deteriorates. According to one internal communication reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, 56 embassy workers and the embassy’s classified material arrived at Dulles International Airport on Sunday.
In a statement on Monday, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said the department was temporarily relocating the embassy due to the “dramatic acceleration” in the buildup of Russian forces.
“The Embassy will remain engaged with the Ukrainian government, coordinating diplomatic engagement in Ukraine. We are also continuing our intensive diplomatic efforts to deescalate the crisis,” Blinken added.
The U.S. has reiterated its support for Ukraine, and on Monday Blinken spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kuleba, and assured him that the U.S. would continue to support Ukraine’s long-term economic stability and security.