UK ambassador to Ukraine evacuated

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UK ambassador to Ukraine evacuated

Melinda Simmons had moved to Lviv from Kyiv but has now been taken out of the country due to the 'serious security situation'

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Melinda Simmons
Melinda Simmons

Britain’s Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons has been evacuated from the war-ravaged country because of the “serious security situation.”

Born in the East End of London to Jewish parents, Simmons family is from Poland on her father’s side, but her mother’s side is both Lithuanian and Ukrainian.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss confirmed the decision had been made to take Simmons out of the country on Monday.

Giving evidence to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, Truss said all UK diplomatic missions in the country have now closed.

She confirmed to the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee: “Our ambassador has left Ukraine because of the serious security situation.”

Simmons initially moved from Kyiv to Lviv

Just days before fighting in Ukraine intensified, Simmons had relocated from Kyiv to Lviv, where the threat was considered less severe.

The highly regarded operative and her staff had attempted to provide consular services to Britons stuck in the country.

Two weeks ago she tweeted: “Yes. We are still in #Ukraine. Still carrying out core work. Proud to do so with a great team.”

As war broke out last month she posted: “A wholly unprovoked attack on a peaceful country is unfolding. Horrified.

“Just because you’ve prepared and thought about this possibility for weeks and months doesn’t mean it isn’t shocking when it actually happens.”

Ambassador joined online shul service from Ukraine

Last weekend she also told friends of her unease at reports noting how she took part in online services with a UK synagogue while still in Ukraine.

Known as a highly focussed humanitarian, Simmons was seen as part of a new generation of British female ambassadors.

She told one Ukrainian interviewer recently: “When Brits think about Ukraine, by large they think about corruption and they think about war.”

Asked what could change this situation she said: “positive stories about progress in tackling corruption and positive stories about Ukraine growing in strength as a confident democracy, these are the things that will alter the perceptions of Brits”.


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