Second flight en route to repatriate Vietnamese fleeing Ukraine

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Vietnamese citizens fleeing from Ukraine waiting at Henri Coandă International Airport in Bucharest, Romania, for repatriation flight on March 7 (local time). — VNA/VNS Photo

HÀ NỘI — A Bamboo Airways flight is en route from Hà Nội to Warsaw to bring home nearly 300 Vietnamese people fleeing war-torn Ukraine.

The Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner departed from Nội Bài International Airport at 1:55am on Wednesday and is scheduled to land at Warsaw Chopin Airport at 9:00am (local time), or 15:00pm (Hà Nội time), the same day.

It will stay there for about three hours for boarding, technical inspection and refuelling.

The flight is expected to arrive back in Hà Nội at around 5:15am on Thursday (local time), three hours later than the initial schedule.

Bamboo Airways has been closely working with the Ministry of Health to fully observe the COVID-19 prevention and control rules.

It is the second flight for the repatriation of Vietnamese people in Ukraine. The first, operated by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines, arrived in Hà Nội at noon on March 8 with 287 passengers on board, who had evacuated to Romania following the conflict in Ukraine.

Both of the repatriation flights have been arranged and fully funded by the Government of Việt Nam.

Bamboo Airways has put forward a proposal to the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam on the operation of seven air routes from Hà Nội to Prague, Bucharest, Warsaw, Budapest, Bratislava, Moscow and Minsk to evacuate Vietnamese nationals from Ukraine.

Yesterday, talking to the press at the reception for the first repatriation flight at Nội Bài airport, Vietnamese deputy foreign minister Phạm Quang Hiệu, who also chairs the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs, said the majority of the Vietnamese people in Ukraine have been safely evacuated from war zones, and authorities will continue working to have appropriate repatriation plans based on the demands.

Since the fighting broke out, one of the top priorities of the Party, State, Government, and Việt Nam Fatherland Front is to guarantee the safety of overseas Vietnamese citizens and businesses, he said.

The Government demanded a special working group be set up to move the citizens out of war zones and assist those who wish to return home. As the coordinating body, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has been working closely with relevant ministries and sectors to order Việt Nam’s representative agencies in Ukraine and neighbouring countries like Poland, Romania, Hungary, and Slovakia, in cooperation with Vietnamese associations, to immediately evacuate those in the worst war zones, the official noted.

The first repatriation flight was arranged within three days, Hiếu said, thanking Vietnamese associations in the countries close to Ukraine to help successfully perform this task.

This is not the first time repatriation flights have been conducted on a large scale since a similar move was made in the face of the Libya crisis in 2011. However, many of the 7,000 Vietnamese people in Ukraine have lived in this country for a long time and had strong links to the country and they previously thought that the fight would not be so fierce.

Việt Nam’s overseas representative bodies have continually issued recommendations and persuaded the expatriates, who often made the evacuation decision at the last minute.

Relevant agencies have been exerting utmost efforts to liaise with authorities in Ukraine and Russia to create a safety corridor for the citizens to move, Hiệu noted, adding that only a few people are still in Ukraine to watch over their assets, and the agencies are still keeping in touch with them to give help. — VNS

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