Taiwan evacuates citizens from Kyiv by bus amid Ukraine crisis

02/25/2022 09:11 PM
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Kyiv, Thursday. Photo: AP
Kyiv, Thursday. Photo: AP

Taipei, Feb. 25 (CNA) Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Friday it had evacuated 13 people by bus from the Ukrainian capital Kyiv following the commencement of Russian military operations in the country Thursday.

The bus, which is carrying Taiwanese nationals along with their partners and spouses, left around 10 p.m. Thursday and is headed to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, around 400 kilometers from Kyiv near the Polish border.

As of Friday evening, the bus was still stuck in a major traffic jam caused by large numbers of people fleeing Kyiv and eastern Ukraine, where several cities have been under the Russian attack, according to MOFA.

It added that an additional five people were expected to board the bus en route to Lviv.

MOFA did not specify when the bus would reach its destination, saying only that staff from Taiwan's representative office in Warsaw were preparing to help the 18 expected arrivals to later enter Poland.

MOFA said that it currently knows of 15 Taiwanese nationals still in Ukraine who chose not to get on the bus.

It added that its overseas missions in Poland and Russia as well as employees from the Kyiv office of the Taiwan External Trade Development Council -- who are also heading west -- would maintain close contact with those remaining in Ukraine and provide help if necessary.

MOFA has been advising Taiwanese nationals living in Ukraine to leave the country since Feb. 12, the date when the United States warned that a Russian invasion was imminent.

On Thursday, it announced its plan to help Taiwanese nationals leave Ukraine by land in view of the closure of Ukrainian airspace to civilian flights, following Russia's commencement of military operations.

In its statement on Friday, MOFA once again urged those who remain in Ukraine to at least relocate to the west of the country as soon as possible, while advising people to avoid traveling to the region.

(By Chen Chih-chung and Teng Pei-ju)

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