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General News of Saturday, 26 February 2022


Russia-Ukraine crisis: Evacuating students is the most effective response – NUGS to gov’t

Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey

The National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS) has maintained that evacuating Ghanaian students from Ukraine is the single most effective response to the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

In a petition to the government on Friday February 25, NUGS said “We, therefore, make the following recommendations which must all be geared ultimately towards evacuation, Parliament should direct and supervise our mission in Switzerland through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to take immediate steps to make food, water and sanitary materials available to students while preparing for evacuation is underway.

“The embassy must improve its communication with students and establish formal means of giving out information to reassure the students who are losing hope in our systems.”

Meanwhile, a Ghanaian student in Ukraine, Nana Kwame Appiah Denis, has revealed that foreign nationals in Ukraine are being evacuated to Romania, Slovakia and Poland due to the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

He said most of these foreign nationals are students.

They have been asked not to carry too many luggage on them in order to make their movement easier, he told TV3’s Komla Adom on the midday news, Friday, February 24.

“I am safe where I am but the situation now is that a lot of students especially, from the Western side of Ukraine are moving to Poland. As at now, Poland, Romania, Slovakia have opened their borders to allow foreign nationals.

“As at now, we know that many students are organizing buses, you will be advised not to take too much things to make it easier to carry the few things that you have with you .

“Even getting moneys from the ATMs is also is a major problem because there is a limit to how much you can withdraw now,” Nana Kwame Appiah said.

The Government of Ghana expressed concerns about the safety of Ghanaian students in Ukraine following the conflcit with Russia.

In series of tweets on Thursday, February 24, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration said “The Government of Ghana is gravely concerned about the security and safety of our over 1000 students and other Ghanaians in Ukraine and has asked them to shelter in place in their homes or in government places of shelter, as we engage the authorities, our relevant diplomatic missions and our honorary consul on further measures.”

Meanwhile, Ghana’s Honorary Consul to Ukraine, Dr. Albert Kitcher has said it is not possible to evacuate Ghanaian students and Ghanaians in general from Ukraine at the moment following the Russia-Ukraine crisis.

He said the airspace of Ukraine has been shut hence, air travels are not possible.

Alternatively, he said, Ghanaians living close to the Russian borders will need to relocate to safer locations in Ukraine.

Speaking on the midday news on TV3 Thursday, February 24, Dr Kitcher said “The Ghanaian community is safe despite the early morning issue we all woke up to. As of last night, there was a state of emergency which was declared and because of that, I sent messages to them.

“So, I will say that our people are safe and I have spoken with some even this morning.”

He added “Where we are now, if we have everything we cannot evacuate because the Airspace of Ukraine is currently shut. What can be done is, if we identify any areas that prove to be problematic or people will be vulnerable there, to relocate them or evacuate them to a safer place.

“We had all these in plan knowing this will develop, so already, the Mission and the Ministry was working on the modalities to get the students out.

“If there will be any evacuation it will be an evacuation to safer place. We ourselves are looking at the situation, as it is now, if a place is so close to the Russian border we will want people to move from there. I had a communication also from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine and they advise that people stay calm.”

Although Ghanaian students in Ukraine have said they are safe in the interim, they have asked the Government of Ghana to prioritize evacuating them from that country due to the crisis with Russia.

President of the Ukraine Chapter of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGS), Dr Phillip Bobie Ansah also told TV3’s Komla Adom on the Midday news on Thursday, February 24 that “absolutely, we are all safe as we speak now.”

Regarding the plea for them to be evacuated, he said “we have heard responses from the embassies.”