US closes embassy in Belarus, lets staff leave in Russia

February 28, 2022 GMT
Secretary of State Antony Blinken pauses speaks during a news conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken pauses speaks during a news conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken pauses speaks during a news conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken pauses speaks during a news conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)
Secretary of State Antony Blinken pauses speaks during a news conference with Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba at the State Department in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster, Pool)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The State Department has closed the U.S. Embassy in Belarus and is allowing non-essential staff at the U.S. Embassy in Russia to leave the country due to the war in Ukraine.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced the suspension of operations at the Minsk embassy and the authorized departure from Moscow in a statement on Monday.

“We took these steps due to security and safety issues stemming from the unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces in Ukraine,” he said.