China has started evacuating its citizens from Ukraine, state media said.
Some 400 students based in the Black Sea Port city of Odessa, and another 200 from the capital, Kyiv, left the country on Monday, according to state-run tabloid Global Times, which cited the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine. Another 1,000 citizens are expected to be evacuated into neighboring countries on Tuesday, it added.
Plans for charter flights to get Chinese citizens out were put hold over the weekend as fighting intensified, with the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine citing security risks.
Unlike nationals from many other countries, Chinese nationals in Ukraine did not receive instructions to leave the country before Russia's invasion began. Prior to Russia's attack, Chinese officials pushed back on warnings from the United States and its allies that an aggressive move from Moscow was imminent.
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Monday defended Beijing's approach, saying the ministry and the Chinese Embassy in Ukraine “issued relevant safety warnings in a timely manner.”
There are about 6,000 Chinese nationals in Ukraine, according to state media.