At least 9 Singaporeans still in Ukraine; MFA exploring options for them to leave ‘if the situation permits’
SINGAPORE: At least nine Singaporeans are currently in Ukraine and spread out across several cities, said Foreign Affairs Minister Vivian Balakrishnan in Parliament on Monday (Feb 28).
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) is in touch with eight of them and is “aware” of at least one other Singaporean whom it has been trying to contact, he added.
“Singaporeans' safety remains our priority concern and MFA has been in contact with them and we will assist them whenever, and however, possible,” Dr Balakrishnan said in a ministerial statement on the situation in Ukraine.
“We are also exploring options for them to leave the country if the situation permits.”
In the meantime, he urged Singaporeans in Ukraine to seek shelter, be vigilant and heed the advice from authorities. Those who have not registered with MFA should immediately do so, he added.
In the lead up to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Dr Balakrishnan noted that MFA had issued two travel advisories advising Singaporeans in Ukraine to leave “as soon as possible by commercial means while it was still possible to do so”. The first was on Jan 26 and the second on Feb 13.
Following the first travel advisory, seven Singaporeans left Ukraine by commercial options before the conflict erupted, said Dr Balakrishnan.
Another three made their way across the border into Poland since the launch of the Russian invasion, he added.
In response to a question from Member of Parliament Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim (PAP-Chua Chu Kang) on what ASEAN and Singapore can do to alleviate the situation in Ukraine, Dr Balakrishnan said that out of the three who made their way across the border, at least one Singaporean did so in a convoy together with Malaysians who were crossing the border into Poland.
“I thank my counterpart in Malaysia for doing so. So similarly on the ground, I’m sure we will continue to work with each other, look out for citizens of ASEAN and where possible, tom pang (Malay for hitching a ride), gotong royong (Malay for mutual assistance) and help one another,” he said.