WASHINGTON – The World Bank and International Monetary Fund said on Monday they had temporarily relocated some staff from Ukraine amid rising concerns about a potential Russian invasion, but both institutions said their lending and support work in Ukraine was continuing.

The World Bank said in an internal memo seen by Reuters that it has temporarily suspended staff missions to Ukraine and is closely monitoring the situation at the border, where Russia has massed a large military force within striking distance of Ukraine.

“The World Bank Group’s foremost priority is to keep our staff and their families safe. In line with our evacuation policy, temporary relocation of staff is under way and enhanced security measures are in place,” the memo said.

The memo did not provide details on where or how many staff were being relocated.

The IMF has temporarily relocated its resident representative in Ukraine, Vahram Stepanyan, outside of the country, an IMF spokesperson said.

Stepanyan, an Armenian national, has headed the IMF office in Kyiv since July 2021, working with local Ukrainian employees.

IMF staff remain engaged and in contact with their Ukrainian counterparts,” the IMF spokesperson said.

A World Bank Group spokesperson also said the development lender’s operations in Ukraine would continue, adding: “To this end, staff will continue to work on our program from Ukraine and alternate locations.”

The United States is relocating its Ukraine embassy operations from the capital Kyiv to the western city of Lviv, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday, citing a “dramatic acceleration in the buildup of Russian forces.”

The IMF maintains a $5 billion loan program for Ukraine, while the World Bank has provided nearly $1.3 billion in financing to Ukraine since the COVID-19 pandemic started. – Reuters