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Escaping Ukraine: How S. Korea got its citizens to safety Updated: 2022-03-31 10:10:42 KST

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine some 4 million people have fled the country.
Many risking their lives amid airstrikes and bombardments.
And South Korea has been working to get its citizens out of danger.
The Foreign Ministry sent out travel restriction warnings and ordered the swift evacuation of some 300 Koreans in the region even before the war broke out on February 24th.
Thanks to that, Woo Tae-gyu was one of the hundreds who were able to fly out of the country.

"On February 13th the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued an emergency travel restriction for all regions of Ukraine. They made a group chat with all the Korean residents to exchange information and their whereabouts. At the time, I didn't think a war would actually break out, so I flew out to Kazakhstan, hoping to return to Ukraine in a few months' time. Weeks passedand the situation got worse. So I had to fly to Korea."

But he said his heart goes out to those still trying to flee the country.

"I can't believe innocent civilians are dying even at this moment. Though I was fortunate enough to leave before the war started I feel a bit guilty for leaving many of my friends who are yet to escape for their lives."

To help those who couldn't leave the country before all air travel from Ukraine was cut off Korean embassies like the one in Poland were ready at the border.

"We closely communicated with the Korean embassy in Ukraine, which would let us know how many people were planning to cross the border at what time. We would then wait for them at the border around the clock. Some would use their own cars while some used vehicles provided by the embassy. Fortunately we were able to transport each and every resident SAFELY despite the unstable internet connection that sometimes made communication difficult."

The Foreign Ministry says that as of March 30th only 25 Koreans remain in Ukraine.
Most of them have expressed their desire to stay in the country as they don't want to leave their Ukrainian partners.
There are also still some Koreans in neighboring countries like Russia who want to come back home.

"Even at this moment South Korea's Foreign Ministry and embassies in eastern Europe are trying their best to accomplish their main mission:
helping overseas residents get to safety. Shin Ye-eun, Arirang News."
KOGL : Korea Open Government License
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