50 Irish citizens registered with the Embassy in Ukraine

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The Foreign Office said around 50 Irish citizens have registered with the embassy in Kyiv, while a number of others have indicated their intention to travel to Ukraine for medical treatment.

Following yesterday’s updated advice for Irish citizens not to travel to Ukraine and for all citizens to leave immediately, the Irish parents of 14 babies due to be born to surrogate mothers are currently considering their options.

This morning a Ryanair flight left Dublin Airport for Kyiv with the vast majority of the 131 people booked on the flight showing up and making the journey.

A number of other people have indicated their intention to travel to Ukraine for medical reasons.

Fine Gael Senator Mary Seery Kearney has been liaising with families of babies due to be born to Ukrainian surrogate mothers by May.

Ms Seery Kearney said the families were devastated by yesterday’s advice not to travel to Ukraine. She said the 14 couples who were due to have babies by May are now considering their options.

“They are devastated to be separated from their newborns who are due to arrive in the next few weeks.”

She said she urged families to contact clinics and agencies they have dealt with in Ukraine, to see what arrangements can be made for the baby’s care until they can travel and in the light of the deterioration of the situation.

The United States has warned that a Russian invasion of Ukraine could begin within days, with its State Department ordering non-emergency embassy staff in Kyiv to leave amid rising tensions.

Christian Polimashev from Tallaght, South Dublin, was traveling to Ukraine from Dublin this morning with his girlfriend for a skiing holiday and to visit his grandparents.

He said he was not concerned about the recent change in travel advice as he was not traveling to Kyiv.

“We are going to the western part which is very close to the Polish border. In my opinion, nothing will happen there because it is a mountainous region. I am going to my grandparents and to a ski resort there “Low. I’m not going to be near the east end for obvious reasons. I have no concerns.”

Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary said he spoke last night with the Irish Ambassador to Kyiv.

In a post on Twitter, Simon Coveney said the advice to Irish citizens is to leave Ukraine and the government will continue to work with EU partners and keep people informed.

Higher Education Minister Simon Harris said the government was monitoring the situation in Ukraine “on an hourly basis” and was in constant contact with its European counterparts.

“We have a duty of care to the citizens of Ireland to pass on the best advice and the best thoughts as we receive it,” he told RTÉ’s This Week programme.

Mr Harris said families expecting babies to be born via surrogacy in Ukraine will be assisted on a case-by-case basis.

He said: “What we are doing is engaging individually at the foreign affairs level with these families.

“I encourage any families who have not yet done so to approach our consular service directly and we will provide the best possible advice and obviously explore all options.”

Department reviews visa arrangements

The Department of Justice is reviewing visa arrangements to help family members of Irish citizens living in Ukraine to enter Ireland quickly.

Ireland is the only EU country that does not have a visa-free travel regime for Ukrainian citizens, who are free to travel to the rest of the EU for up to 90 days.

In a statement to RTÉ News, the Department of Justice said: “While Ukrainian nationals are not visa-exempt to enter Ireland, given the current circumstances, all visa applications will be processed as quickly and as humanely as possible. as possible.”

He said this includes family applications for family members of Irish citizens, “which will be dealt with expeditiously”.

Department of Justice officials are working with colleagues in the Department of Foreign Affairs on the issue.

Additional Mary Regan Reports

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