Russia charters flight to US to pull out expelled personnel amid war with Ukraine

Disaster relief non-profit helps Ukrainians flee nation as Russian invasion escalates

Sewa International volunteer coordinator Vinod Pillai says that the conflict should be resolved through diplomatic discussions to avoid a further humanitarian crisis.

The U.S. government approved a Russian chartered flight to pull out United Nations (U.N.) Mission personnel Saturday, as Russia continues its war against neighboring Ukraine.

The State Department told Fox News in a statement that the personnel were expelled from the U.S. due to an “abuse” of their residence.

“The U.S. government approved a flight chartered by the Russian government to facilitate the departure of Russian UN Mission personnel who were expelled for abuse of their privileges of residence,” a U.S. State Department spokesperson told Fox News.

“This special exception was done in accordance with federal regulations to ensure Russian mission personnel and their families departed by the date we had instructed,” the spokesperson said.

A Ukrainian soldier passes by houses in the village of Novoluhanske, Luhansk region, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 19, 2022.
(AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak)

The Russian personnel departure from the United States is only the latest in an intensifying international conflict, as Ukrainian refugees flee the war torn country and volunteer soldiers reportedly pour into Ukraine through Poland.

The Biden administration recently announced a ban on Russian aircraft in U.S. airspace this week. This chartered flight is an approved exception. 

More than 1.25 million people have fled Ukraine since Russian forces invaded on Feb. 24, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said in a Saturday press release.

Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti) 
(Associated Press)

The mass displacement marks the “largest humanitarian crisis Europe has seen since World War [II],” said IOM, which is asking for $350 million to support humanitarian efforts in the war-torn country.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) called it the “fastest exodus of refugees this century” in a Saturday tweet.

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