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First flight repatriating 287 Vietnamese from Ukraine arrives in Hanoi

First flight repatriating 287 Vietnamese from Ukraine arrives in Hanoi

Tuesday, March 08, 2022, 19:16 GMT+7
First flight repatriating 287 Vietnamese from Ukraine arrives in Hanoi
A nine-year-old Vietnamese girl is seen arriving at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, on March 8, 2022 after leaving conflict-torn Ukraine for Romania. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

A plane of national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines touched down at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi on Tuesday, carrying 287 Vietnamese citizens who had fled Ukraine to Romania.

The flight, which landed at 11:27 am, was the first among the planned special flights to bring home Vietnamese citizens in Ukraine, where the Russia - Ukraine military confrontation has been taking place since February 24.

The flight had departed from Henri Coandă International Airport in Bucharest, the capital of Romania, which borders Ukraine, at 7:35 pm on Monday (local time).

Among the 287 people on board were 71 children aged under 12, including 14 babies less than two years old.

Many of them expressed their gratitude to the Party and the government for arranging the flight for them.

Pham Duy Hung, vice-president of the Vietnamese Association in Romania, which plays the key role in evacuating Vietnamese from Ukraine, said the evacuees at the airport were calmer than when they first met him previously in Moldova, a European country where they had arrived before getting to Romania.

This image shows the Vietnam Airlines plane carrying 287 Vietnamese people evacuated from Ukraine gets to the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, at noon of March 8, 2022. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

This image shows a Vietnam Airlines plane with 287 Vietnamese evacuees from Ukraine aboard landing at Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam, March 8, 2022. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

“We have done anything we can to support them,” Hung said.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Romania Dang Tran Phong went to the airport to greet the evacuated people on the plane before they flew home.

Duong Van Hong, 59, one of the first returnees from Ukraine’s Odessa, expressed his joy as one of those on board the first repatriation flight.

He extended his gratitude to the Vietnamese community in Ukraine, the Vietnamese Association in Odessa, the Vietnamese Embassy in Ukraine, the Consular Department under the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs for their support during the evacuation.

Hong said he and his family have lived in Ukraine for 30 years and when leaving Ukraine, they could not bring anything along due to the urgent situation.  

Van Anh, 38, who has lived in Odessa for more than 20 years, said she was truly happy when she could safely return to Vietnam, and hoped the Vietnamese government would continue repatriating other Vietnamese citizens in Ukraine.

This image shows Vietnamese citizens aboard a flight taking off on Monday evening from Romania, where they had fled to from the conflict-torn Ukraine. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

This image shows Vietnamese citizens aboard a flight taking off on March 7, 2022 from Romania, where they had fled to from conflict-torn Ukraine. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

Pham Quang Son, 61, a resident of Hanoi, who arrived at the airport to pick up his relatives, said he was so happy seeing his children and grandchildren.

“They have been traders and students in Odessa for many years," Son said.

"When the Russian attack began, everyone was extremely worried because they didn’t know what would happen to them.”

Son added that he had lived in Odessa for years before returning to Vietnam two years ago for family visits, but he could not come back to Ukraine due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Vietnam.

He said his relatives in Odessa evacuated to Romania and were brought home on this special flight arranged by the Vietnamese government.

Son expressed his gratitude to the Party and the government of Vietnam for operating the flight to repatriate his children and grandchildren.   

Nguyen Thi Tuyen, a resident in Hanoi’s Thuong Tin District, said she and her family were on a tour in Vinh Phuc Province’s Tam Dao District but they immediately returned to the capital city when hearing that her relatives were on the flight from Ukraine to Vietnam.

“It is great to see them safely arrive in Vietnam,” Tuyen said.

This image shows some of the 287 Vietnamese citizens getting to the Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam on March 8, 2022 after leaving Ukraine for Romania. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

This image shows some of the 287 Vietnamese citizens reaching Noi Bai International Airport in Hanoi, Vietnam on March 8, 2022 after leaving Ukraine for Romania. Photo: Nguyen Khanh / Tuoi Tre

As planned, the second repatriation flight is expected to depart from Romania’s capital Bucharest on Thursday.

The Vietnamese government approved the foreign ministry’s proposal to arrange special flights to repatriate Vietnamese citizens in Ukraine.

The government has assigned the Ministry of Transport to take the lead charge of flight arrangement, while the Ministry of Finance has been tasked with ensuring expenditure for the flights.

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Vinh Tho - Nguyen Khanh - Thanh Chung / Tuoi Tre News

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