PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The Malaysian Embassy in Kyiv is currently working to provide a safe haven for 11 Malaysians still in Ukraine.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the government was saddened by developments taking place in Ukraine.
"The government's priority at this time is to ensure that Malaysian families in Ukraine are safe. The Malaysian Embassy in Kyiv is currently working to provide protection and a safe haven for Malaysians before they can return to Malaysia," he said in a series of tweets on Thursday (Feb 24).
He said he was informed that there were 23 Malaysian citizens registered with the Malaysian Embassy in Kyiv.
"Twelve have returned home while 11 are still there. Malaysia hopes that the best possible peaceful settlement between Ukraine and Russia can be reached soon, and subsequently successfully resolve the conflict," he said.
Reuters reported that people in Kyiv stood in long queues trying to stock up on supplies on Thursday after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, and a huge traffic jam blocked the main road heading west out of the capital as others tried to flee.
Kyiv did not come under attack, but signs of nervousness were growing as planes flew overhead, explosions were heard and an emergency siren sounded early in the morning.
Even after weeks of warnings by Ukrainian and Western politicians that a Russian attack was imminent, some people were caught off guard in the city of around three million people.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on all citizens who were ready to defend the country from Russian forces to come forward, saying Kyiv would issue weapons to everyone who wants them.
Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine by land, air and sea on Thursday, the biggest attack by one state against another in Europe since World War Two, confirming the worst fears of the West.
Mr Zelensky urged Russians to come out and protest against the war.