Pinoys in Ukraine urged to leave amid possible Russian invasion


Posted at Feb 15 2022 06:43 PM

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MANILA — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is urging Filipinos in Ukraine to leave the eastern European country amid a potential Russian invasion.

DFA undersecretary for civilian security and consular affairs Brigido Dulay said Tuesday that the situation in Ukraine is "very fluid" due to high tension with neighboring Russia, which has amassed thousands of military troops and assets near the borders between the two countries.

He said the current scenario of Filipinos in Ukraine is a similar to repatriation efforts from Afghanistan when the Taliban took control of Kabul last year.

"Heto naman naranasan namin sa Afghanistan. Alam mo, up to the last minute, hinihikayat namin 'yung mga Pilipino na umalis. 'Yung unang nagpunta sa amin, kaunti lang ano. Nagumpisa lang talaga dumagsa nung nagpuputukan na," Dulay told TeleRadyo.

"'Yun ang sitwasyon na inaasahan namin. Kahit anong mangyari sa conflict areas, talagang maghihintay ang mga Pilipino all the way to the last minute. Kaya ang aming pinapakiusap sa ating mga kababayan, kung gusto niyo na po lumikas, gawin niyo na po ngayon habang maaga pa," he said.

The DFA earlier said some 380 Filipinos are in Ukraine. Dulay, however, said he is expecting the number will increase when undocumented Filipinos show up for possible repatriation efforts.

He said there is no Philippine embassy in Ukraine and that the official serving as honorary consul to the European state is stationed in the Philippine embassy in Poland.

Manila stopped the deployment of Filipino migrant workers to Ukraine in 2014, and OFWs in the European state are "undocumented", Dulay said.

The department is ready to evacuate OFWs who have decided to leave Ukraine, he assured.

"If you want to come home, we will bring you home."

Filipinos in Ukraine were advised to contact the Philippine Embassy in Poland through these contact details:

WhatsApp/Viber: +48 604 357 396 or +48 694 491 663

The DFA, in a separate statement, said it is working with the European Union for safe passage of Filipinos across EU borders.

US officials earlier said Russia had amassed more than 130,000 soldiers at Ukraine's borders.

Western leaders consider the Russian troop build-up to be the worst threat to the continent's security since the Cold War and have prepared a crippling package of economic sanctions in response to any attack on Ukraine.

Moscow has repeatedly said it has no such plans of invading Ukraine soil.

— With a report from Agence France-Presse