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Several Filipino residents evacuate amidst Russia vs Ukraine conflict

As Russia continues to launch its invasion of Ukraine, as of February 27, Sunday, 13 Filipino residents have already evacuated to Poland, who were welcomed by Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. However, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), some Filipinos in Ukraine were still undecided to go back to the Philippines, hoping that the tension between Russia and Ukraine will subside in the coming days.

These 13 Filipinos were greeted by Locsin Jr. at the border of Poland in Rava-Ruska-Hrebenne Border Crossing Station, as a part of DFA’s role to guarantee the safety of Filipinos living in Ukraine in the middle of the war.

Last February 24, Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin enforced an all-out military invasion of Ukraine as the diplomatic efforts to resolve the conflict between Russia and Ukraine were no longer taking effect. With Russia’s military attacks by land, air, and water, the government of Ukraine continues to seek aid from other nations, while its residents, including more than 300 Filipinos living in Ukraine, continue to seek refuge and hope for the war to end.

While there are more than 300 Filipinos in Ukraine according to DFA, Sarah Lou Arriola, the DFA undersecretary for migrant workers’ affairs, stated that the DFA only managed to track the whereabouts of 181 Filipinos. She said that the remaining Filipinos who have not contacted the embassy might be fearing to be forced to go back to Manila. She then clarified that the DFA does not force Filipino residents to go home.

As of writing, Arriola mentioned that at least more than 40 Filipinos, who are still hoping for the war to end in the coming days, have already evacuated to the western city of Lviv from the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv – where Russia’s attack of big explosions and gunfires can be especially heard.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine was said to be the biggest attack by a European state to another since World War II, which fears the other nations in the West as Russia continues to attack. In a television broadcast addressed by Putin, he stated that the Ukrainian army who would not join the war could freely go home. “We urge you to lay down arms immediately and go home. I will explain: all servicemen of the Ukrainian army who comply with this requirement can freely leave the area of military actions and return to their families,” he stated. Putin also mentioned in his television address that other nations should not intervene. However, as Ukraine continues to ask for help and counter-attack, many nations such as Germany and the United States of America have already supported Ukraine to fight off Russia by providing military assistance in forms of weapon supply and war vehicles, among others.

Photo from: Department of Foreign Affairs Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs Sarah Lou Ysmael Arriola/ Twitter

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