Skip to main content

Russia-Ukraine war: Turkey begins evacuating Kyiv embassy

Move comes as reports emerge of 86 Turkish citizens, including 34 children, trapped in besieged city of Mariupol
Ukrainians living in Turkey protest against Russia's military invasion of Ukraine in the Ulus district in Ankara, on 5 March 2022 (AFP)

Turkey has begun the evacuation of its embassy in Kyiv as Russia continues to press its assault across Ukraine.

"We are evacuating embassy staff for security reasons," a Turkish official confirmed to AFP on Friday, adding that the embassy would be relocated to Chernivtsi near the Romanian border.

Turkey has attempted to act as a mediating force in the conflict.

On Thursday, the country hosted the foreign ministers of both countries in the coastal city of Antalya for trilateral discussions, though there was little progress.

However, as the risk of a Russian attack on the Ukrainian capital increases, Turkey has decided to pull its diplomatic staff out of harm's way.

Stay informed with MEE's newsletters

Sign up to get the latest alerts, insights and analysis, starting with Turkey Unpacked


Citizens trapped

The move comes amid reports that 86 Turkish citizens are sheltering in a mosque in the besieged southern Ukrainian port city of Mariupol.

The Ukrainian embassy in Ankara said on Friday that those sheltering including 34 children and that Russian forces had been shelling the city, including the mosque, since the early morning.

Russia-Ukraine war: Mufti dons combat fatigues to fight Putin and avenge Syria
Read More »

Piotr Andryushchenko, an advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, wrote on Facebook that shelling was ongoing in the direction of the mosque.

"Does Mr Erdogan know that in minutes the [shelling] can destroy 86 of his fellow citizens?" he wrote, referring to the Turkish president.

"Will the leader of the nation calmly observe the inhumane destruction of Turkish citizens, limiting himself to the guarantee of meaningless negotiations between the Russian Federation and Ukraine?"

Turkey's foreign minister has yet to comment on the situation.

Turkey has been engaged in helping its citizens leave Ukraine since the beginning of Russia's full-scale invasion on 24 February. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has said 13,719 citizens had so far been evacuated from the country.

Negotiations have been underway between Russia and Ukraine to open a humanitarian corridor to allow safe passage for those trapped in Mariupol, but there has so far been no success.

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.