China surveys for evacuation as Russia reportedly enters Keiv, plan ‘eases fear’ amid intense crossfire
Published: Feb 26, 2022 12:09 AM Updated: Feb 26, 2022 01:44 AM
People in Ukraine rest in the Kiev train station and subway as they shelter in the subway in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, February 24, 2022.

People in Ukraine rest in the Kiev train station and subway as they shelter in the subway in Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, February 24, 2022.

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As the Russia-Ukraine battle entered a second day on Friday, the Chinese Embassy to Ukraine started to survey about 6,000 Chinese nationals in the country to prepare for evacuation arrangements as the Russian military reportedly entered Kiev. The Global Times learned that missiles have been fired at Ukraine and aircraft are frequently spotted in Kiev, while in the northeastern city of Sumy, local students hid in air raid shelters. 

The Chinese Embassy in Ukraine on Friday issued a warning to local Chinese that Ukraine authorities had required their people not to wear red elements on their clothes or wear uniforms or tactical clothing, like example camouflage clothing, in public. 

A pro-Russia group in Ukraine allegedly would wear red in their clothes to recognize their own people.

The embassy asked Chinese to stay at home or to hide. 

A Chinese student in Kiev surnamed Zhang told the Global Times on Friday that air raid sirens sounded multiple times and residents scrambled into nearby shelters or subway stations. The bottom floor of the station he stayed in was full. 

Chinese nationals have been hiding in shelters and are waiting for the embassy's evacuation arrangements, said another Chinese in Kiev surnamed Liu. "The embassy has provided shelter information for us."

Li Miao, who is engaged in trade in Kiev, told the Global Times he woke up to the sound of explosions again on Friday but chose to stay at home as the sounds seemed far away. There were fewer cars on the streets. 

All the Chinese Li knows have registered for the evacuation. Some people married to locals even wanted to bring their spouses and children back to China. 

A woman surnamed Li who works in Kiev told the Global Times that she did not leave home in two days for fear of danger. But the Chinese Embassy's announcement to prepare for evacuation boosted her confidence and eased her fears. 

 Li said that her Ukrainian friends are not afraid either. "Some people went to the western part once the war broke out, some hid in the basement. Some even drove to safer areas and slept in the vehicles," Li said. But people do not think the situation will last long, as the capacity gap between Russia and Ukraine is huge. Many people think that they could see the result of the war by the end of tomorrow.

Sumy was also among the Ukrainian cities struck by a barrage of missiles. Chinese students reached by the Global Times are in a local bomb shelter, and the situation could last days. 

"Food is sufficient for now but could be short if the situation continues. There is also a high risk of COVID-19 infections as all people are staying together," graduate student Huang told the Global Times. 

The crossfire is intense right outside the shelter and they can hear sounds of cannons, guns and tanks, another student said on condition of anonymity. 

The Chinese Embassy on Thursday issued two alerts in a few hours due to the quickly escalating situation, and started to collect information of local Chinese to arrange evacuations via chartered flights. 

According to the embassy's notice, people who have a Chinese passport, passport for Hong Kong and Macao special administrative regions, and mainland travel permit for Taiwan residents, are eligible for the evacuation registration. 

The move touched a Taiwan resident to tears as he released a video on social media on Friday morning. He felt like it was saying that "although you don't listen to me, you are still my child."

"Residents in Taiwan, we should always love our mother," he said. 

The first task is to investigate how many people want to return and their locations. Since many airports are occupied or destroyed, the embassy is keeping contact with Ukraine authorities on this matter, said Ding Jianwei, the embassy's news counselor. 

Since only large airplanes can fly the route between Beijing and Kiev, they need to study the destruction of Ukraine's infrastructure to make such arrangements, Ding said. 

Russia announced its military operations on Thursday early morning, marking a new escalation of the months-long Ukraine crisis.