Exclusive: 1,700 Chinese nationals in Ukraine to be evacuated to neighboring countries: embassy
Published: Mar 01, 2022 07:11 PM
Buses are arranged to pick up Chinese students in Odessa, Ukraine and send them to neighboring countries.Photo: the Chinese Consulate General in Odessa.

Buses are arranged to pick up Chinese students in Odessa, Ukraine and send them to neighboring countries.Photo: the Chinese Consulate General in Odessa.

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Some 1,700 Chinese nationals in Ukraine will be evacuated to neighboring countries on Tuesday, including about 900 from Kiev and 800 from Odessa. The majority will be escorted by embassy staff and local police forces via a total of 32 buses to the Moldova and Poland, with the rest taking designated trains. After arriving in the neighboring countries, charter flights will be arranged to pick them up and send them back to China, the Global Times learned from the Chinese Embassy in Kiev and the Consulate General in Odessa. 

The 800 Chinese nationals will set off in two directions - Moldova and Poland -- on Tuesday from Kiev, the embassy said. Some 18 buses have been arranged, with diplomats escorting them throughout the journey. The embassy has also provided food and water for the evacuees. 

Apart from buses, the embassy has dispatched high-level diplomats to the train station in Kiev to assist Chinese nationals leaving the country by trains. According to onsite observations, the train station in Kiev is in good order, with no exclusionary attitude toward foreign citizens, nor overcrowding, confusion or failure to get on the train, the Global Times has learned.

About 700 to 800 Chinese nationals will be escorted by embassy staff and local police forces via 14 buses to the neighboring Moldova on Tuesday, the Chinese Consulate General in Odessa told the Global Times. After arriving in Moldova, they will be transferred to Romania, where charter flights will pick them up and send them back to China.

"Three police cars will also accompany the ride. They have been a big help in escorting the Chinese nationals, as there are many local armed militias along the way robbing people. With buses being such an obvious target, the police escort will play a big role in ensuring safety," a consular staffer said.

The consulate has coordinated with relevant departments to provide quicker routes for the Chinese evacuees. As the western-bound roads to the outside are heavily congested for some 20 kilometers because of countless fleeing refugees, it will take about 40 hours to eventually cross the border. With local police cars leading the way, it may take about one and a half hours to arrive at the border.

The embassy said they are paying close attention to the chaos and great uncertainty of the situations in Kharkov, it told the Global Times, and has issued information of the westbound trains from Kharkov to other countries. The embassy has also verified with the train station that Chinese nationals can get on the train without buying a ticket but only use their valid passports. Once on the trains, the embassy will help clear customs, and has liaised with the relevant security departments to protect the safety of Chinese citizens.

China evacuated the first batch of its citizens from Ukraine on Monday, including over 400 Chinese students from Odessa and 200 from Kiev. There will be nearly 1,000 more Chinese citizens to be evacuated from Ukraine on Tuesday to neighboring countries such as Poland and Slovakia, the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine earlier said.

An embassy staffer who escorted Chinese citizens all the way to Moldova told the Global Times on Tuesday that less than an hour after they set off, they saw three bombs exploding in the direction their buses were headed to. Along the way, they went through at least 15 checkpoints, filled with soldiers with guns. It took more than six hours to travel from Kiev to the border checkpoint in Moldova, he said. 

"It was 1 am when the children [students] were brought to the small land port in Moldova. There weren't any lights, but all of us were very excited. I recorded a video for everyone, even if someone's face was not visible on the screen," The staff member recalled. 

"After sending everyone through customs, I went back to the bus and found that the kids had quietly left me some food, maybe they noticed I was starving too. Among them were two eggs. You may not believe me, eggs are usually nothing, but in times of the current situation, two eggs are too precious," he told the Global Times.

In a notice issued on Monday afternoon the embassy said a number of neighboring countries including Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland will provide assistance to Chinese nationals coming from Ukraine. 

Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary will facilitate Chinese nationals' entrance by granting temporary visa-free access to valid passport-holders. Chinese embassies in neighboring countries will also help with relevant immigration procedures, the notice said.