Taiwan to evacuate citizens in Ukraine by land: MOFA
Taipei, Feb. 24 (CNA) Taiwan's government on Thursday said it will help its nationals in Ukraine leave the country as soon as possible after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the commencement of military operations earlier in the day.
Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) said although Taiwan currently does not have an office in Ukraine, two nearby offices, including representative offices in Russia and Poland, are in close contact with the 33 Taiwanese known to be there.
As Ukrainian airspace is closed to civilian flights following the Russian attack, Ou said Taiwan's government is helping those who wish to leave Ukraine to do so by land.
Those who remain in the eastern European country are strongly urged to at least travel to Lviv in western Ukraine, which is farther from the conflict zone, she added.
In the event of an emergency, Taiwanese in Ukraine can call Taiwan's office in Poland at +48-668-027-574 or its office in Moscow at +7-969-008-6111 to seek assistance, MOFA said.
Taiwanese who plan to go to Lviv or are already there should get in touch with the Taiwan Trade Center in Kyiv, which is run by the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), at +380-44-537-0982, the ministry added.
In a televised address Thursday morning, Putin announced the launch of a "special military operation" to achieve the "demilitarization and de-Nazification of Ukraine," effectively launching a full invasion of the country.
Taiwan's government condemned the move and expressed regret over the military action taken by Russia, accusing Moscow of "changing the status quo."
According to Taiwan's Ministry of Education (MOE), nine of the 33 Taiwanese in Ukraine are students.
Seven are in the capital Kyiv, one is in the east of the country and another in southern Ukraine, the MOE said.
Meanwhile, Taiwan's Ministry of National Defense (MND) said it is closely monitoring military activities across the Taiwan Strait and on high alert.
The MND's comments were made a day after President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) ordered the nation's armed forces to step up surveillance, remain alert for military activity in the region and strengthen combat readiness as tensions between Russia and Ukraine grow.
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