Filipinos in Ukraine urged not to panic as Russia launches invasion

Patricia Lourdes Viray - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs on Thursday urged Filipinos in Ukraine not to panic and exercise caution following attacks from Russia.

The DFA advised Filipinos in Ukraine to maintain communication with the Philippine Embassy in Lviv or the Consulate General in Kyiv in case they need help.

"All our kababayans can just approach our Philippine Consulate in Kyiv... There's a team in Lviv also that is there if they need repatriation, they need to transfer to a safer place," Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Sarah Arriola said in a press briefing.

DFA's top priority is repatriation

The DFA said the repatriation of Filipinos in Ukraine is its top priority as it coordinates with the Philippine Honorary Consulate General in Kyiv, the Embassy Team in Lviv, the Embassy in Warsaw, and the Office of the Undersecretary for Migrant Workers’ Affairs.

So far, six Filipinos arrived from Ukraine last February 18. Another four, who arranged for voluntary repatriation, are expected to arrive in Manila on Friday.

"As Secretary Locsin said, our chief and singular concern is to take out of harm’s way our fellow Filipinos in Ukraine and bring them to the nearest places of safety by the fastest possible way," the DFA said.

Russia launches full-scale invasion of Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier Thursday announced a military operation in Ukraine to "demilitarize and de-nazify" its neighbor.

Putin promised to bring "to court those who have committed many crimes, responsible for the bloodshed of civilians, including Russian citizens".

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Putin had launched a "full-scale invasion," attacking peaceful Ukrainian cities.

"This is a war of aggression. Ukraine will defend itself and will win. The world can and must stop Putin. The time to act is now," Kuleba said.

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As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: October 18, 2023 - 10:13am

President Volodymyr Zelensky on Saturday secured Turkey's crucial backing for Ukraine's NATO aspirations after winning a US pledge for cluster munitions that could inflict massive damage on Russian forces on the battlefield.

Washington's decision to deliver the controversial weapons — banned across a large part of the world but not in Russia or Ukraine — dramatically ups the stakes in the war, which entered its 500th day Saturday.

Zelensky has been travelling across Europe trying to secure bigger and better weapons for his outmatched army, which has launched a long-awaited counteroffensive that is progressing less swiftly than Ukraine's allies had hoped. — AFP

October 18, 2023 - 10:13am

Washington's decision to supply Ukraine with ATACMS long-range missiles is "a grave mistake", Russian ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov says Wednesday.

"The White House's decision to send long-range missiles to Ukrainians is a grave mistake. The consequences of this step, which was deliberately hidden from the public, will be of the most serious nature," he says in a statement. — AFP

October 15, 2023 - 3:26pm

President Vladimir Putin says Sunday that Russian forces had made gains in their Ukraine offensive including in Avdiivka, a symbolic industrial hub.

"Our troops are improving their position in almost all of this area, which is quite vast," he says in an interview on Russian television, an extract of which was posted on social media on Sunday. "This concerns the areas of Kupiansk, Zaporizhia and Avdiivka." — AFP

October 12, 2023 - 12:48pm

The regional governor says debris from a drone destroyed over the Russian region of Belgorod, which borders Ukraine, fell on homes and killed three people, including a young child.

The air defense system "shot down an aircraft-type UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) approaching the city", says Governor Vyacheslav Gladkov, adding that the falling debris destroyed several homes.

"Most importantly, three people were killed, one of them a small child," he writes on the Telegram messaging app, accompanied by pictures of a house reduced to a pile of rubble behind red and white police tape. — AFP

October 10, 2023 - 2:18pm

Ukraine's air force says on Tuesday that it had destroyed 27 of 36 Russian attack drones overnight in the south of the country.

Ukrainian forces downed 27 "Shahed-136/131" drones in the southern Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odesa regions, the air force said on the messaging platform Telegram.

In all, Moscow had launched 36 of the Iranian-made drones from the Crimean peninsula, which Moscow annexed in 2014, it says. — AFP

October 6, 2023 - 7:28pm

The Kremlin claims on Friday Russian forces never targeted civilian infrastructure after Ukraine blamed Moscow for a missile attack that killed over 50 people in the eastern village of Groza.

"We repeat that the Russian military does not strike civilian targets. Strikes are carried out on military targets, on places where military personnel are concentrated," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says in his daily briefing. — AFP

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