Wednesday, February 28, 2024

Australia evacuates Ukraine embassy

The New Zealand Government is advising New Zealanders to leave Ukraine immediately and Australia has ordered the relocation of its embassy staff to the Polish border amid warnings a Russian invasion is imminent.

“In response to heightened tensions between Russia and Ukraine, the New Zealand Government is advising New Zealanders in the Ukraine to leave immediately while there are commercial flights able to get them home,” said Foreign Minister, Nanaia Mahuta today.

“Those registered on SafeTravel have been notified directly, and we encourage all Kiwis currently in the Ukraine not registered to do so immediately.”

Australian Foreign Minister, Marise Payne this morning announced the Australian Government would move its Kyiv embassy operations to a temporary office in Lviv, close to the Polish border.

“Given the deteriorating security situation caused by the build up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s border, the Government has directed the departure of staff at the Australian Embassy in Kyiv and temporarily suspended operations at our Embassy in Kyiv,” the Minister said.

“We will be moving our operations to a temporary office in Lviv.”

“We have urged all Australians to leave Ukraine immediately and the Department of Foreign Affairs has continued to reach out to contact Australians to reiterate that travel advice,” she said.

New Zealand has no diplomatic representation in Ukraine, meaning the government’s ability to provide consular assistance to New Zealanders in Ukraine would be “very limited” if required, said Minister Mahuta.

The security situation in Ukraine could change at short notice and New Zealanders should not rely on support with evacuating in these circumstances, she said.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is monitoring the situation in Ukraine and continues to update its travel advice to New Zealanders in Ukraine regularly. Our revised travel advisory mirrors similar travel updates from Australia, United Kingdom and the United States.”

“New Zealand strongly supports ongoing international efforts to resolve the crisis diplomatically but the continuing and unprecedented build-up of Russian military forces on its border with Ukraine is deeply concerning.

“Aotearoa New Zealand calls on Russia once more to take immediate steps to reduce tensions and the risk of a severe miscalculation,” she said.

The Government urges any New Zealanders in Ukraine not registered on Safe Travel to do so immediately in order to receive updates from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade: https://safetravel.govt.nz/ukraine

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