There has been several prominent visits to Kyiv since the war started, including U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, UK prime minister Boris Johnson, and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Is Russia notified before these visits so they can avoid accidentally triggering a "Pearl Harbor moment", or is it kept a secret? What is regarded as safest, to tell them or not to tell them?

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    I would say it is unlikely as I have heard reports that there is fears of them setting up false flag operations and there could be fear of them doing it with a leader and trying to blame Ukraine.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 13:41
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    @JoeW I think a false flag in an active war zone is an oxymoron. Every diplomat that visits Ukraine understands the risks that they can be collateral damage, especially if the enemy doesn't know they are there.
    – uberhaxed
    Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 16:53
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    @JoeW war crimes are not relevant here. Civilians killed by collateral damage is allowed by the Geneva conventions if there is anticipated military gain. The Geneva conventions also only allows neutral parties to claim third party status. A party supplying military aid is not a neutral party by definition. There is literally nothing in the Geneva conventions that will protect European or American diplomats in an active war zone such as in Ukrainian cities. I would also advise you not use the word "war crime" unless there are actual war crimes as that is getting as diluted as the word "nazi".
    – uberhaxed
    Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 17:48
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    A false flag is also an oxymoron when the victims are perfectly aware who did what. If say Boris Johnson had been killed walking around in Kiev the UK government would be perfectly clear on who had been responsible and the game would only be worthwhile to convince Russian and neutral countries that Russia had nothing to do with it. Since the whole point would be to avoid mistakenly escalating by killing foreign dignitaries there is no loss telling the Russians exactly what is going on. Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 18:50
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    @JoeW You don't need to assassinate someone in a war zone. You can just run a military operation and kill them and claim they were collateral damage and have plausible deniability (especially if the attacking party was not officially aware that they were there). I'm really not seeing what you don't understand about "war zone". Not letting Russia know that foreign diplomats are there gives them cover and allows them to claim whatever they want.
    – uberhaxed
    Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 21:16

1 Answer 1


If I recall the timing correctly, most of these visits you mentioned were announced to the public before they happened. You could read in western newspapers that these visits were going to happen usually a day or two before the politicians travelled. So they are definitely not secret and one would expect the Russian government to be aware of all information that is publicly available and relevant to them. I don't know whether the Russian government is informed separately but I don't think that would be necessary.

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    The Boris Johnson visit was a secret to basically everyone until he actually arrived in Ukraine, doubt the others were though.
    – ajd138
    Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 23:01
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    Bulgarian prime minister Petkov announced his recent visit almost a week in advance.
    – fraxinus
    Commented Apr 29, 2022 at 23:25
  • According to abcnews the visit by Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin was a secret "--until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy spilled just hours after they were wheels up. " Source: abcnews.go.com/Politics/…
    – epa095
    Commented May 1, 2022 at 19:12

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