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(LEAD) S. Korea issues new warning to evacuate last remaining citizens from Ukraine

All News 19:45 February 20, 2022

(ATTN: UPDATES with meeting of National Security Council in last 3 paras)

SEOUL, Feb. 20 (Yonhap) -- South Korea has issued an emergency warning to urge the last remaining citizens to quickly leave Ukraine due to escalating military tension along the eastern border with Russia, the foreign ministry said Sunday.

The Korean Embassy in Ukraine stepped up its warning as shelling in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine intensified in new signs of fears that a war could start within days.

People watch news of the military conflict in the Donbas region of Ukraine at Seoul Station on Feb. 20, 2022. (Yonhap)

A total of 68 Korean nationals were staying in Ukraine as of Saturday (local time), which excludes diplomatic staff and 10 living in the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia seized from Ukraine in 2014, according to the ministry.

Among them, 40 will depart Ukraine over the weekend, while the embassy will continue to persuade other citizens to flee the nation or move to the western region for their safety, the ministry said.

The embassy has been providing emergency kits and information about bomb shelters for the remaining citizens in case of contingency, it noted.

The Korean Embassy has relocated its staff to temporary offices in Ukraine's Lviv on the western border and Przemysl in Poland's southeastern region since Wednesday.

South Korea's presidential National Security Council met Sunday to discuss the government's response to the situation in Ukraine, Cheong Wa Dae said.

The meeting was presided over by national security adviser Suh Hoon and focused on the evacuation efforts for South Korean nationals.

The attendees also discussed the potential economic fallout from the instability in Ukraine and possible ways to foster an environment for dialogue with North Korea after the close of the Beijing Winter Olympics, according to the presidential office.

ejkim@yna.co.kr
(END)

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