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Filipinos in Ukraine brace for evacuation
The Philippine government raised crisis alert level 2 over Ukraine after Russia threatened military assault if Ukrainian troops will not stand down in Crimea, an autonomous region of Ukraine off the northern coast of the Black Sea.
Crimea is known to have deep ties with Russia.
Under alert level 2, Filipinos are advised to prepare for possible evacuation, restrict non-essential movements, avoid public places, and closely monitor developments.
There are 175 Filipino workers in Ukraine, government statistics showed.
“The Philippines expresses its deep concern regarding developments in Ukraine and calls on all parties to exercise restraint, not to escalate through the use of force, and follow obligations under international law,” Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said.
The crisis started when former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych asked Russia to use military force in Ukraine following street protests demanding his resignation.
Since then, Russia began occupation of Crimea, sending thousands of troops and taking control of military installations and airports.
“The Philippines urges all parties to resolve the crisis through dialogue,” Hernandez said.
A five-member Rapid Response Team from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Office of the President, Labor Department and Philippine National Police will depart for Ukraine as soon as possible,” he added.