Namibian students in Russia, Ukraine panic amid war fears

Eba Kandovazu

A MEETING between Namibia’s Ambassador to Russia, Clemens Kashuupulwa and hundreds of Namibians studying in Russia and Ukraine yesterday has left many in a state of uncertainty, after the ambassador informed them that the Namibian government has made no arrangements for their evacuation, should the war between the two host countries breakout.

Etuweda Hiwete, a medical student at the National Pirogova Memorial Medical University in Vinnitsa, Ukraine told the Windhoek Observer newspaper that Kashuupulwa, during the virtual meeting, called on students to remain calm. According to her, local media reports suggested that the Namibian government would fund the return tickets to Namibia for the students.

“They basically told us to remain calm, that Russia has no intention to attack Ukraine, which we understand and that is why we are still calm but that is only based on condition that Ukraine does not join NATO. What if Ukraine decides they are joining NATO? What will happen?

We were calm but after the discussion we had with the Ambassador yesterday, it just made us panic more. We were informed that the government is ready to evacuate us but to our surprise the embassy says they do not have that information. They don’t know if Namibia will take us home. Who is not telling us the truth? They are telling us we’re on our own and our parents will bear the cost. Now we just have questions,” Hiwete revealed.

Hiwete however explained that classes in Ukraine have not been disrupted as yet.

The Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation is yet to respond to questions sent. “School is online but not because of the war – it is because of COVID-19. People in cities close to the border are saying that they are feeling the tension. So far we are living our normal lives but we are uncertain,” Hiwete stressed,adding that prices have gone up since the talk of an imminent war.

“For example, 1kg of chicken was 50 Hryvnia (UAH), now it is 70 Hryvnia (UAH),” she said. Reuters reported that Russia has more than 100,000 troops at the Ukrainian border. In the meantime, British nationals have been ordered to leave Ukraine as Boris Johnson warned that he “feared for the security of Europe”.

The Foreign Office is now advising against all travel to the country, BBC reports. International news reported today that Russia was withdrawing some of its forces from the Ukraine border, where they were stationed for war exercises with other Russian allies in the region.


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