Many Bangladeshis, now taking shelter in neighbouring countries of Ukraine, do not want to return home yet, preferring to observe the situation for a few days, says the government.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam Monday said the number of Bangladeshis who crossed the Ukrainian border is likely to be around 500 by the end of the day.

However, only 60 Bangladesh nationals, now staying in Poland, Romania and Moldova, are willing to return home. The government is in touch with around 700 Bangladeshis in Ukraine apart from those who already crossed the border.

Around 470 Bangladeshis have taken shelter in Poland, Moldova and Romania, and 15 are in Hungary.

Now the government is unlikely to send any chartered flight in the next few days as the number of Bangladeshis willing to return is very few.

Poland will allow Bangladeshis to stay for 15 days upon their arrival from Ukraine and the government of Bangladesh hopes to bring back its citizens much ahead of the 15-day timeline.

Among them, 46 Bangladeshis are in temporary shelters arranged by the Bangladesh Embassy in Warsaw.

The rest of them made their arrangements although they were offered shelter by the embassy.

The mission is working to rescue and relocate 28 Bangladesh nationals as of now through the International Committee of the Red Cross, Ukraine.

It is also working to evacuate Bangladeshis who are in jail or detained in Ukraine through the International Organization for Migration, Ukraine.

Although there are many foreigners, including Bangladeshis, who are desperately trying to leave Ukraine, some are also willing to stay back.

Khaled Mosharraf, a Bangladeshi, wants to stay back and observe the situation further.

"I was never in a hurry in my life. Like others, I don't want to leave. I still find it safe to stay here," he told UNB over the phone, mentioning that he is living with his family in Kyiv.

Khaled, from Chandpur, has been living in Ukraine since 1992 and developed a deep attachment with the country where he is running his business.

"If I see that the situation gets worse in Kyiv, I will go to some other city in Ukraine," he said, insisting that he is not willing to leave.

Earlier, Bangladesh asked its nationals stranded in Ukraine to contact the country's diplomatic missions in the neighbouring European countries while Poland and Romania came forward to provide temporary shelters for Bangladeshis.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Friday issued helpline numbers for the stranded Bangladeshi nationals to help them get into Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova, all bordering Ukraine.

Bangladesh does not have an embassy or a consulate in Ukraine.

The country's Embassy in Poland only acts as Ukraine's de-facto diplomatic mission.

A team from the Embassy in Warsaw is working near the over-500km border between Poland and Ukraine to assist Bangladeshis wishing to enter Poland.

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