Diplomatic Briefing

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Archive for July 16, 2014

Newsline: Embassy in Ukraine evacuates Vietnamese from Donetsk

Vietnam’s embassy in Ukraine has started to evacuate nearly 300 Vietnamese from Donetsk due to the national government’s plan take back the rebel-occupied city in what many anticipate to be a bloody siege. The embassy has asked Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Transport to help evacuate any person in need. Several Vietnamese students have been brought to Kiev in the past week, and offered places to eat and sleep by community evacuation officials from Vietnam’s embassy. Many businesses and shopping malls owned by Vietnamese expatriates in Kiev have helped shelter the refugees. Nguyen Phuong Thao, a community official from the embassy, said the first Vietnamese evacuees were mostly women and children as men tried to stay behind to protect the family’s property for as long as possible. Vietnam’s ambassador to Ukraine, Nguyen Minh Tri, has visited the evacuees and called for all Vietnamese to leave Donetsk as soon as possible, noting that the conflict could escalate in unpredictable and complex ways.


Newsline: Chinese embassy says two nationals died in Moscow metro disaster

Two Chinese nationals, both men, were among the more than 20 people confirmed dead after a metro train derailed in Moscow during the morning rush hour Tuesday, the Chinese embassy said early Wednesday. The Chinese embassy has contacted the companies that sent the two men to Moscow, and a working group from the embassy has maintained contact with Russian authorities to follow developments. The two men, who have not yet been named, were killed when three carriages derailed while undertaking an emergency stop in an underground tunnel in western Moscow between Slavyanski Bulvar and Park Pobedy stations. Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin declared Wednesday a day of mourning for the victims and pledged to bring those responsible to account.


Newsline: Foreign diplomats owe £75m in road fees in London

Foreign diplomats have notched up more than £75million in London congestion charge debt during the last decade, official figures reveal. The total value of unpaid congestion charges incurred since its introduction in February 2003 until the end of last year was £75,364,182, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Mark Simmonds said in a written ministerial statement. The US Embassy had the highest number of fines and biggest congestion charge bill, with 70,637 fines and a total outstanding bill of £8,172,245. The Japanese Embassy was second with 48,520 fines and a £5,623,040 bill, followed by the Russian Federation Embassy with 44,145 fines and £5,123,450. There were also 5,662 unpaid parking fines incurred by diplomats and international organisations in 2013, totalling £541,599.