Families of Russian diplomats began to leave Ukraine in early January, according to The New York Times (NYT), citing a senior official of the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU).
On the 5th of January, 18 people, largely diplomats' children and wives, embarked on a journey to Moscow. According to the storey, roughly 30 more personnel connected to Russia's diplomatic corps left Kyiv and Lviv in the following days. Diplomats at two additional consulates have been told to prepare for the withdrawal, according to the authors of the New York Times.
They point out that at the turn of the year, Russian authorities planned to deport members of diplomats' families from the Russian Embassy in Ukraine. According to NYT sources, this fact could indicate that the Kremlin is preparing to launch a military campaign against Ukraine or escalate the situation further.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Foreign Ministry spokesman Oleh Nikolenko claims that the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has not received any information from Russia regarding the supposed relocation of diplomatic post employees. According to news source Interfax Ukraine, other countries' embassies have not announced their plans to withdraw their workers.
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, for its part, has no intentions to return Ukrainian diplomats who are currently stationed in Russia.
Russian diplomats are working 'as usual', according to the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Russian Embassy in Kyiv, according to NYT.