The US is suspending operations at the US embassy in Belarus and also allowing non-emergency employees and family members to depart the US embassy in Russia due to safety and security issues resulting from Russian aggression towards Ukraine, Secretary of State Tony Blinken said in a statement.
“The U.S. Department of State has suspended operations at our Embassy in Minsk, Belarus and authorized the voluntary departure (“authorized departure”) of non-emergency employees and family members at our Embassy in Moscow, Russia. We took these steps due to security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine,” Blinken said on Monday morning.
Blinken cited the department’s highest priority being the safety and security of US citizens, including US government personnel worldwide.
Some background: CNN reported overnight that a Ukrainian government official said that Ukrainian intelligence indicates Belarusian "readiness to maybe participate directly" in the invasion of Ukraine. This "in addition to allowing Russians to use their territory as well as letting them cross the border" into Ukraine. A second source close to the Ukrainian government tells CNN that in addition to the Ukrainian intel, the Biden administration has also conveyed to the Ukrainian government that Belarus is preparing to invade.
“The Department of State continually adjusts its posture at embassies and consulates throughout the world in line with its mission, the local security environment, and the health situation. We ultimately have no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens, and that includes our U.S. government personnel and their dependents serving around the world,” Blinken said.