IRISH GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS have ruled out an Afghan-style rescue mission for Irish citizens and embassy staff in Kyiv.
Troops and diplomats from the Irish Army Ranger Wing traveled to Afghanistan last year after the fall of Kabul to rescue the city’s Irish citizens.
In the case of the invasion of Ukraine, security and diplomatic sources said The newspaper that there is little chance of planes reaching Kiev.
A total of 70 Irish citizens in Ukraine have registered with the Foreign Office. The Irish Embassy in Kyiv is currently closed.
Two Irish diplomats in Kyiv have been moved to a safe place with EU colleagues. It is understood that anyone leaving Ukraine will have to do so by road as the country’s airspace is currently unsafe.
In the case of rescuing diplomats, the plan is believed to be to meet them at the border and drive them to, most likely, Poland or Romania. From there they would be evacuated to Ireland or continue their work from their new location.
Diplomatic sources said routes from Kyiv were “in total gridlock” and airspace was closed.
“It’s not good, it’s war,” they said. They added that this is to some extent an unprecedented situation and the government is waiting to see what Russia’s next move might be.
Traffic jam as people leave the city of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Source: Emilio Morenatti
Security sources said that the Russian military invasion is expected to focus on seizing all locations east of the Dnieper River, which includes the city of Kiev.
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Russian paratroopers are engaged in battles with Ukrainian forces at an airbase a short distance from the capital.
Foreign Secretary Simon Coveney said two Irish families are currently in Ukraine for surrogacy reasons, and the Foreign Office is in contact with them to ensure their safe passage out of the country .
A Department advisory has been issued, with all Irish citizens in Ukraine urged to seek refuge in a safe place.
However, the Department said, “Citizens should consider leaving Ukraine if they deem it safe to do so, based on their location and prevailing circumstances.”