Korean companies fly staff out of Kyiv
The Korean government issued a travel ban to Ukraine on Saturday midnight, prohibiting all inbound travel into Ukraine. It commanded all Koreans in Ukraine to leave immediately.
Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have sales corporations in the Ukraine capital of Kyiv.
“Families of Korean staff at Samsung Electronics and LG Electronics have already returned to Korea last month and there are a few staff remaining there,” a source from the IT industry said Monday.
“Remaining staff are to be dispatched elsewhere or are planning to return home.”
Neither Korean company has manufacturing facilities there.
Some 10 Korean companies have offices in Ukraine.
Hankook Tire said it is evacuating Korean staff.
“We have one staffer sent from Korea and a locally hired Korean staffer in Ukraine,” said a spokesperson for Hankook Tire Monday.
“Both of them and their families are waiting to be returned home or dispatched elsewhere.”
Hyundai Motor doesn’t have staff in Ukraine but runs a factory in Saint Petersburg in the northwestern part of Russia, where an unidentified number of Korean staff are working.
“Korean workers are monitoring the situation between Ukraine and Russia,” said a spokesperson for the Korean automaker. “At the moment, there hasn’t been any instructions given to them regarding the conflict."
According to Korea’s Foreign Ministry Monday, there are 281 Koreans residing in Ukraine at the moment, most of whom are missionaries and business people.
There were originally 565 Koreans in the country as of Jan. 25, more than half of whom left in the past two weeks.
The ministry said 100 of the remaining Koreans in Ukraine are scheduled to leave on Monday and Tuesday.
There are no direct flights between Ukraine and Korea so a transfer in a third country is mandatory.
The Foreign Ministry said Sunday it is reviewing the possibility of sending government evacuation flights to Ukraine.
The situation could lead to a disruption of supplies in Korea, amid climbing oil prices.
Russia is the world’s third biggest producer of oil.
The price of West Texas Intermediate crude increased by 3.58 percent on Feb. 11, and was traded at $93.10 a barrel, according to New York Mercantile Exchange, reaching a seven-year high.
“If the continuing tension fixes the current $90 a barrel oil price, it will become even harder to expect a slowdown in inflation,” said Park Sang-hyun, an analyst at Hi Investment & Securities.
“Especially for Korea, which heavily relies on oil, a negative economic impact in the country is inevitable."
JP Morgan said in a report that crude prices will shoot to $125 per barrel.
President Moon Jae-in called for preparation for the worst-case scenario in a meeting Monday.
“The conflict which hasn't found a breakthrough solution yet is leading to nationwide insecurity," Moon said.
"We have to come up with a solution that minimizes damage to our companies and do everything we can to safely evacuate Koreans. Uncertainties regarding the domestic economy and financial markets have to be resolved too.”
BY JIN EUN-SOO, PARK EUN-JEE [email@example.com]