ASEAN calls for ceasefire in Ukraine

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Foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have called for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine.

This is the second time in a week that ASEAN has issued a statement on the crisis. Senior diplomats said on Thursday there was still room for dialogue to prevent the conflict from spiraling out of control and claiming more casualties.

Ministers say they are deeply disturbed by the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Ukraine. They say a ceasefire would create an environment that would open the door to negotiations and avoid further suffering for innocent people.

As with a similar statement from ASEAN last week, the ministers refrained from directly criticizing Russia.

Eight of the group’s members backed a UN resolution on Wednesday condemning Russian aggression. Laos and Vietnam abstained.

At the same time, Southeast Asian countries continue their efforts to evacuate their citizens from Ukraine. On Thursday, 83 people arrived at Jakarta’s main international airport via Romania. Fourteen remain in Bucharest because they or family members have tested positive for coronavirus.

The Indonesian government has coordinated with its embassies in the region regarding the evacuations. About 140 Indonesians were in Ukraine before the Russian invasion. Most were migrant workers in the hospitality and manufacturing industries. But 24 chose to stay for family reasons.

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