Report: Malaysian diplomats in Kyiv escaping by road after evacuation bungle

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Eight Malaysians and two foreign national dependents are in the process of escaping Kyiv for Poland’s borders by road, as the Ukraine capital comes under increasing attacks.

Reuters

The South China Morning Post (SCMP) reported that their initial plan of a chartered bus had been delayed following heavy traffic but that they finally decided “to make a run for it” on a 782km road trip in a convoy of four cars, expected to take about 10 hours in the direction of Lviv.

According to the report, plans to evacuate the city had been in place since Friday night but Russian bombings in Kyiv had crippled transport and banking systems.

The Malaysian embassy’s First Secretary Fadhilah Daud, had made a call to proceed with an alternative plan after multiple official sources had said the foreign ministry bungled their evacuation.

“The sources lay particular blame on senior government officials, including the prime minister and foreign minister for their dismissive stance towards Western intelligence in January about the imminent Russian invasion.

“These officials had described the intelligence as a ‘Western narrative’, leading the evacuation mission to become a cluster f***,” SCMP quoted one source.

“This situation is partly the consequence of having a minister who is so desperate to not fall for Western narrative, he starts believing the nonsense peddled by the other side,” they quoted another source saying.

Thirteen Malaysians had already left Ukraine in recent weeks.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob had early today said Malaysia was “seriously concerned” over the escalation of conflict in Ukraine and urged all concerned parties to de-escalate and prevent loss of lives and devastation”.

“At this critical juncture, every effort should be redoubled to seek a peaceful and amicable solution to the conflict through dialogue and negotiation based on international law and the Charter of the United Nations,” he said.

Malaysia was pulled into Ukraine-Russia tensions in 2014 after the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 was shot down by a Russian-made BUK surface-to-air missile in Ukraine airspace, killing all 298 passengers and crew.

Most of the dead were Dutch nationals and prosecutors in a criminal case launched in the Netherlands identified Russia-backed Ukrainian rebels as the perpetrators of the act. – MMO