(A7) The possible Russian takeover of the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv has prompted a flurry of planning at the State Department, Pentagon and other US agencies in the event that President Volodymyr Zelensky’s government has to flee the capital or the country itself, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.
According to a US administration official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, “We’re doing contingency planning now for every possibility,” including a scenario in which Zelensky establishes a government-in-exile in Poland.
Zelensky, who has in the past said he is Russia’s “target No. 1,” remains in Kyiv and has assured his citizens he’s not leaving. He has had discussions with US officials about whether he should move west to a safer position in the city of Lviv, closer to the Polish border, according to The Washington Post.
Zelensky’s security detail has plans ready to swiftly relocate him and members of his cabinet, a senior Ukrainian official said. “So far, he has refused to go.”
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Zelensky, declined to describe any contingency plans Ukraine was making in the event that Russian forces capture the capital.
“One can only say that Ukraine is preparing for the defense of Kyiv as purposefully as Russia is preparing for its attack on Kyiv,” Podolyak said.
“This war has become a people’s war for Ukrainians,” he continued. “We must win the war. There are no other options.”