Kenyan Students In Ukrain Evacuated To Poltava
Kenyan students who were trapped in Sumy, a city in north-eastern Ukraine with a heavy Russian military presence, have been evacuated to a safer city.
The Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed on Tuesday that a rescue mission had been dispatched to rescue 26 Kenyans, mostly students, who had become stranded in Ukraine’s Sumy city.
The Foreign Office said “a convoy is headed to the final extraction point,” adding “the process remains fraught with danger.”
The ministry was responding to Capital News’ questions about the status of Kenyans in northeastern Ukraine after it was revealed that 26 Kenyans had reached out for assistance.
MFA had already coordinated the evacuation of 78 Kenyans in Ukraine, and one student arrived back in Kenya on March 1 after opting to return home, according to a statement issued on March 1.
One of the students, identified as Ahmed, stated that they were being evacuated by city district officers to Poltava, a city in central Ukraine located on the Vorskla River.
“I already told the media and now we are on a bus being evacuated at the moment,” Ahmed said in a text message stating that there are 26 Kenyan students.
Dr Maria Bayerl, a Kenyan who crossed over from neighbouring Romania to assist with the evacuation of immigrants, said the students were loaded onto buses around 4 p.m. Kenyan time.
“The students are being evacuated to a safe area. Details are very shaky primarily because of the safety of the students, once I get to a safe region we will know where they are going to be and I will give you more details,” Maria said.
On March 1, Kenya’s Foreign Affairs Ministry provided an update on the status of Kenyans in Ukraine, stating that 79 Kenyans, the majority of whom were students, had been accounted for.
The ministry said in a statement that 74 Kenyan students had crossed into Poland and were staying in the cities of Warsaw, Krakowets, and Katowice.
It was stated that two other Kenyan students were in Romania, two others were in Hungary, and one student had returned to Kenya.
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“So far, four Kenyans have shown no interest in leaving Ukraine citing personal reasons,” the ministry said.
Ukraine is still being bombarded by Russian missiles from the air, while Russian soldiers advance on foot towards key cities.
At the time, the Ministry stated that 74 had crossed into Poland, two were in Romania, and two were in Hungary.
The evacuations came as a result of successful negotiations led by Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Amb Macharia Kamau, who asked European Union (EU) states bordering Ukraine to assist Kenyans stranded at border points.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Honorary Consul in Kiev has been monitoring the developments in Ukraine, especially the wellbeing of Kenyan nationals who have been caught up in the conflict. We wish to inform you that so far all registered Kenyans in Ukraine are reported safe,” MFA stated is a statement issued on March 1.
On February 25, EU member states bordering Ukraine agreed to open their borders to Kenyans fleeing the conflict with Russia.
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Ukraine since Russia launched a full-scale invasion on February 24, escalating a dispute that began in 2014.
Despite Russia’s attempt to veto UN Security Council resolutions, the international community responded by calling for sanctions against President Vladimir Putin’s regime.
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