Namibian students in Ukraine cut off, as airports close

Tujoromajo Kasuto
and Eba Kandovazu

NAMIBIAN students studying in Ukraine have been left in limbo, following Russia’s invasion of the country early this morning. Students say there is no transport in the country as everything has been shutdown.

One of the students says that he is fine, as the invasion is currently confined to the capital and surrounding cities and has not yet reached where he is based.

He says that Ukraine has declared a martial law and has declared a state of emergency which means that “nothing goes in and out”.

Thus all flights have been cancelled and they have closed the airport .He says from where he is, the nearest border is that of Russia and Poland, which is 18 hours making any move an impossible voyage, as there is no transport available.

He says the school has adviced them to not panic, have their documents ready and a few clothes packed.They are also informed that they would be taken to an underground fortress where they would be accommodated in the meantime, until the situation is safe.

Additionally he says the foreign students have been informed to place their country flags on their dormitory doors and windows in the hope of being spared in the event of an attack.Currently he adds that bank queues are longer than ever and all shops are empty after the panicked shopping by locals, but says they have enough supplies to last them up for four days .Another student, Etuweda Hiwete says that the situation is dire, adding that the time requires for their cries for help to be heard.

She laments that their safety is not taken seriously, as they had already requested help before the war broke out and now they are left with no choice, but to try and remain calm.Hiwete further says that the embassy has told them they are engaging Slovakia, Hungary and Poland to transport them to a safer location.According to the information at hand, there are currently around 100 Namibians, including 92 students in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation Executive Director (ED) Penda Naanda says that the ministry is in consultation with all stakeholders, such as NSFAF, in finding an immediate solution to ensure the safe return of the students studying in Russia and Ukraine, should it become necessary.Moreover, Naanda noted that the country has been following the events where the security in Ukraine is rapidly deteriorating.

“Guided by the provision of the Constitution, which commits Namibia to encourage the settlement of disputes by peaceful means and in the spirit of the Charter of the United Nations “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, we reiterate our call for all parties to find an amicable solution that will minimize tensions and put a halt to the current worrisome situation in Ukraine.”

He asserts that Namibia firmly believes in the principle of respect for national sovereignty, territorial integrity, and the peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with relevant international laws.

The country therefore, calls on the United Nations, in particular the Security Council, to work towards the peaceful resolution of conflict in Ukraine.In the same vein, Namibia urges the international community to contribute to the immediate de-escalation and to avoid taking further counterproductive measures that will inflame the situation.

‘’The Namibian Government regards the safety of its nationals as very important, and MIRCO is in constant contact with Namibian students studying in Ukraine,’’ Naanda says.


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