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Taiwanese begin evacuating Ukraine amid Russian invasion

6 Taiwanese leave Ukraine, 5 seek safety in western city of Lviv

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(Facebook, mod.mil.rus photo)

(Facebook, mod.mil.rus photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — With a Russian invasion of Ukraine now underway, Taiwanese nationals have begun evacuating from the country or moving to areas away from potential front lines.

The U.S. on Wednesday (Feb. 23) issued a warning to Ukrainian officials that a Russian invasion is likely based on the latest U.S. intelligence assessment. On Thursday morning (Feb. 24), Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that military operations had commenced in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine.

According to Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), six Taiwanese citizens have left the country thus far, while another five have relocated to the western Ukraine city of Lviv, which would likely be the furthest from the fighting when hostilities break out. There are currently 33 Taiwanese in the country, the five previously mentioned and 28 in Kyiv, northern Ukraine, and southern Ukraine.

Given tensions between Russia and Ukraine continue to escalate, MOFA has issued seven press releases from Feb. 12 to Feb. 22 in which it raised the travel advisory, called on Taiwanese citizens to avoid travel to Ukraine, and advised expatriates still in the country to leave as soon as possible.

After Taiwan's representative office in Moscow contacted all Taiwanese nationals in Ukraine and conducted consultations with them, around 10 expressed willingness to consider leaving Ukraine in the near future. MOFA stated that because it "regards the safety of the Taiwanese people as the top priority," it will continue to coordinate with the representative office in Moscow to maintain contact with Taiwanese in Ukraine and provide information and necessary assistance.

As the Ukrainian government has declared a 30-day state of emergency starting at 12 a.m. on Feb. 24, MOFA calls on all Taiwanese who remain to prioritize departures as soon as possible, or at least go to the western part of the country first, away from areas where military conflict may break out.

MOFA reminded Taiwan nationals in Ukraine to add the LINE account (ID: @boca.tw) for the Bureau of Consular Affairs (BOCA) and enter their contact information, itinerary in Ukraine, and emergency contacts in Taiwan. This will enable the Taiwanese representative office in Moscow to contact them and provide assistance.

If Taiwanese living in Ukraine encounter emergencies or need assistance, they can call +7-969-008-6111 to reach the representative office in Moscow. Alternatively, they can contact the Taiwan Trade Center in Kyiv at +380-44-537-0982.

Later that morning, MOFA Spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said that due to the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine, Taiwan's representative office in Poland will begin managing consular affairs for Taiwanese in Ukraine starting on Friday (Feb. 25).