UK Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons has returned to Kyiv (picture: Alamy/ Raj Valley).
Ukraine

UK ambassador to Ukraine feeling 'comfortable' on return to Kyiv

Britain announced it would be reopening its embassy in the capital last month.

UK Ambassador to Ukraine Melinda Simmons has returned to Kyiv (picture: Alamy/ Raj Valley).

The UK's ambassador to Ukraine has said she feels "comfortable" returning to Kyiv despite Russian threats against diplomats in the capital.

Melinda Simmons arrived in city late on Friday, following the announcement last month that Britain would be reopening its embassy there in a show of support for Ukraine's fight against Russia's invasion.

Her return comes after Moscow threatened a "proportional response" against the UK for backing Ukrainian strikes behind Russian lines, hinting at possible attacks at British sites in Kyiv.

Watch: UK and NATO must 'resurrect scale' with eastern Europe presence.

In an interview with The Observer, Ms Simmons said that while she was well aware of the risk of returning to the capital, it "absolutely feels like the right place to be".

She said: "I'm not minimising (the risk). I'm not discounting it. You have to take it into account, but I'm still here.

"(There are 27 ambassadors here), so that's quite a lot of diplomats to target.

"I am here with a heightened level of security protection and bearing in mind that potential risk, but for now I feel comfortable working under those circumstances."

Britain moved embassy staff to the Western city of Lviv shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin launched his widely anticipated invasion in February.

Watch: Truss – Russia needs to be pushed 'out of the whole of Ukraine'.

But the UK's Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, told a news conference during a visit to India in April that staff would begin returning to Kyiv after Kremlin troops retreated from the area.

He said: "The extraordinary fortitude and success of President Zelensky and the Ukrainian people in resisting Russian forces in Kyiv means that I can today announce shortly, that we we will reopen our embassy in Ukraine's capital city.

"I want to pay tribute to those British diplomats who remained elsewhere in the region throughout this period.

"The United Kingdom and our allies will not watch passively as Putin carries on this onslaught."