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Rep. Victoria Spartz, the first Ukrainian-born member of Congress to speak with other members ahead of the start of President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech on March 1. (J. Scott Applewhite / Pool / AP / Getty Images)

Rep. Victoria Spartz, the first Ukrainian-born member of Congress, calls on the State Department to send its diplomats back to Ukraine.

Spartz, a Republican from Indiana, on Tuesday sent a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in which he said the United States should consider relocating U.S. diplomats to Lviv in western Ukraine to ensure better coordination with Ukraine. Spartz pointed to the actions of the European Union, which returned its diplomatic corps to Kiev.

“As the largest single provider of military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine, it is time for the United States to follow our European allies in kind,” Spartz wrote.

The United States and other countries withdrew their diplomats and evacuated embassies and consulates from Kiev in the days leading up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and moved them to the western city of Lviv. These officials were quickly moved to Poland and commuted into Lviv, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs suspended all diplomatic services in Lviv just before the Russian invasion began.

In recent days, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called on several countries to restore their diplomatic presence in the country.

“We need your support, even at the level of symbols and diplomatic gestures. Please come back, everyone who is brave, please come back to our capital and keep working,” Zelensky said last week.

However, given the ongoing fighting and concerns about renewed Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, the Biden administration is not taking steps to open its embassy in Ukraine in the short term, despite other countries starting to do so, according to two US officials. who is familiar with the matter.

What other legislators are saying: Spartz’s letter marks a public outcry for the United States to reconsider this position. A Democratic lawmaker who supports the re-establishment of a diplomatic presence in Ukraine said there have been questions from the region as to why Americans are not there as other countries have re-entered.

Another Democrat, however, said the State Department has good reason to be cautious about moving Americans back to Ukrainian soil. While Russia has refocused its war effort against the eastern and southern regions of the country, Russia’s air force can still attack Kyiv and Lviv. While any civilian death from NATO countries in Ukraine may threaten to escalate the conflict with Russia, there are significantly different implications for the United States, the legislator said, “It is a very different security situation and escalating stance.”

Ukrainian officials and activists are watching other countries relocate to reopen their embassies, and they are frustrated by the US position. The European Union announced last week that it would resume its diplomatic presence in the Ukrainian capital.

Daria Kaleniuk, co-founder and CEO of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, also urges the United States to reopen its embassy “quickly.” Kaleniuk believes that the embassy is symbolically significant, but it is also important because it makes it easier to find congress visits and incoming shipments.

“What I learned is part of the reason why politicians do not come because there is no embassy. So the embassy can not give them support to come, ”Kaleniuk said after spending last week on Capitol Hill in a meeting with lawmakers. “The lack of – a US embassy in Ukraine also has a negative impact on the ability to buy advanced weapons. Entrepreneurs who build these advanced weapons, they see that there is not even an embassy in Ukraine, and they are not able to work on the contracts with Ukraine. “

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Monday that Congress may need to approve additional funding for military and humanitarian aid to Ukraine in its war with Russia, signaling early support for more assistance, as Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer also said will be necessary.

“With the speed at which we are sending them weapons and ammunition, we may have to make yet another supplementary” expenditure bill “to continue to arm the Ukrainians and” replenish “weapons to other NATO countries that have sent their stockpiles to Ukraine. said McConnell at a performance in the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce in Louisville.

Congress approved about $ 14 billion in aid to Ukraine last month. McConnell said the Ukrainians can win the war if they are properly supported.

“My position on this from the start is that our goal should be to win. To win. And I think the administration has been reluctant to say that the goal is to win, ”he said. “I think our definition of winning is what Zelensky says it is. In other words, as long as they want to fight, we should give them everything we can to win the match.”

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