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Taiwanese citizens evacuating Ukraine over land

Taiwanese try to make their way to western Ukraine to cross Polish border

People walk in a subway to get a train as they leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

People walk in a subway to get a train as they leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) is attempting to help Taiwanese citizens still in Ukraine evacuate by land and to cross the border into Poland.

As Russia began its invasion on Thursday (Feb. 24) and despite seven warnings sent by MOFA from Feb. 12 to Feb. 22 urging Taiwanese to evacuate, 33 Taiwanese nationals are still in Ukraine. As the Ukrainian government declared a 30-day state of emergency starting at 12 a.m. on Thursday, The ministry called on all Taiwanese who remain to prioritize departing as soon as possible.

Given that all airports in the country are closed, MOFA Spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) urged Taiwanese citizens in Ukraine to at least go by land to the western part of the country first, away from most of the heavy fighting. She then suggested that once they reach western Ukraine, they cross the border by land into Poland, which should be a safe haven as a member of NATO.

As of Thursday, six Taiwanese citizens had left the country, while another five had relocated to the western city of Lviv, which saw air raids on three military facilities in the surrounding region that day. The 28 remaining Taiwanese are in Kyiv and the northern and southern parts of the country.

Of these 33 citizens, nine are students, including five making their way to western Ukraine; two are headed toward Poland, one is still in east Ukraine; and one has remained in south Ukraine. Despite urging from MOFA to leave, many students did not believe a war would break out, while others were concerned about the high cost of Taiwanese quarantine hotels.

Although Taiwan's representative office in Moscow is the designated location to manage consular affairs for Taiwanese living in Ukraine, the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine compelled Taiwan to shift these duties to its representative office in Warsaw, Poland, on Friday (Feb. 25).

If Taiwanese living in Ukraine encounter an emergency or need assistance, they can contact the representative office in Warsaw at +48-668-027-574. To reach the representative office in Moscow, they can dial +7-969-008-6111. Those who have already made their way to Lviv can contact the Taiwan Trade Center, Kyiv, which is operated by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), at +380-44-537-0982.