overseas Filipinos

Philippines prepares for possible evacuation of Filipinos in Ukraine

Sofia Tomacruz
Philippines prepares for possible evacuation of Filipinos in Ukraine

DEMONSTRATION. People take part in the Unity March, which is a procession to demonstrate Ukrainians' patriotic spirit amid growing tensions with Russia, in Kyiv, Ukraine, February 12, 2022.

Valentyn Ogirenko/Reuters

'The situation at Ukraine’s border remains fluid, and security conditions could change at any moment,' says the Department of Foreign Affairs

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine government is drawing up plans for a possible evacuation of Filipinos in Ukraine if tensions with Russia along its border escalate into an on-ground military conflict. 

In a series of tweets on Tuesday night, February 15, Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippine embassy in Warsaw, Poland, was sending its staff to Ukraine “to seek out and urge Filipinos to seek safety.” 

Locsin then called on neighboring European countries to offer a safe pathway for Filipinos to escape should war break out in Ukraine. “I am reaching out to all countries West and East with common borders with Ukraine to take in Filipinos fleeing the likelihood if not event of armed clash,” he said. 

The United States had estimated that 150,000 Russian troops encircled Ukraine, adding that while reports that some forces had withdrawn were welcome, they were unverified and an invasion remained very much a possibility.

“The situation at Ukraine’s border remains fluid, and security conditions could change at any moment,” the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said in a statement Tuesday night.

The DFA said it was coordinating closely with foreign service posts in Europe to facilitate the repatriation of Filipinos in Ukraine who may wish to return home. It was also in talks with the Filipino community in Ukraine, along with foreign governments and international partners to facilitate the transfer of Filipinos who expressed the desire to relocate to “more secure areas.”

“The DFA is also working with the European Union in ensuring safe passage of Filipinos across EU borders,” the DFA said.

The agency called on Filipinos in Ukraine to “keep communication lines with the Philippine Embassy in Poland open” and to be on standby for any updates, bulletins, and safety advisories. 

Filipinos in Ukraine were also advised to reach out to the Philippine embassy in Poland “as early as possible” through the following contact details:

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– with reports from Reuters/Rappler.com

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Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs and is the lead reporter on the coronavirus pandemic. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter via @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.