Latin Americans amid the Ukraine-Russia war

i24NEWS - Reuters

3 min read
An Ecuadorean who fled from Ukraine is greeted by relatives upon arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre airport, in Ecuador, on March 4, 2022.
RODRIGO BUENDIA / AFPAn Ecuadorean who fled from Ukraine is greeted by relatives upon arrival at Quito's Mariscal Sucre airport, in Ecuador, on March 4, 2022.

A total of 1,500 Ecuadoreans are at-risk in the conflict, many of them students

Hundreds of Latin Americans among the thousands living in Ukraine or Russia fled back to their countries following the Russian invasion, including some 250 Ecuadoreans, many of them university students.

Thousands of people are believed to have been killed and more than one million refugees forced to leave Ukraine since February 24, when Russia’s President Vladimir Putin ordered the biggest attack on a European country since World War II.

Latin American countries are subsequently coordinating flights from Ukraine’s neighbors like Romania, Hungary, and Poland.

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"This has marked our lives," said Mercedes Sanchez, whose 18-year-old son Jorge Criollo arrived back in Ecuador on Friday after traveling through several Ukrainian cities, Slovakia, and Budapest.

"My greatest fear was that my son would die there," Sanchez told Reuters.

Criollo is among hundreds of Ecuadorean students who sought education in Russia or Ukraine, where higher education is cheaper than in Ecuador.

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Around 850 Ecuadoreans were registered as living in Ukraine, according to Ecuador’s Foreign Ministry.

A total of 1,500 citizens of the South American country are at-risk in the conflict, including those living in Russian border areas, the government added.

Forty-four Mexicans and people of other Latin American nationalities arrived in Mexico from Romania on Friday as well, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry tweeted.

Meanwhile, Colombia said almost 250 of its citizens evacuated on Thursday, Chile said it has two reception centers in Poland, and 31 Peruvians left Ukraine as of Wednesday.

Venezuela’s opposition leader Juan Guiado said Thursday that 348 Venezuelans were living in Ukraine.

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