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General News of Friday, 25 February 2022


Russia-Ukraine crisis: Ghana's multi-pronged response so far

Shirley Ayorkor Botchway, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration

African countries react to Russia-Ukraine crisis

Ghana, two other African reps on UN Security Council condemn Russia

Number of countries hint at evacuating nationals from Ukraine

As the world struggles to come to terms with events unfolding in Ukraine where Russia, late Wednesday, February 24, started armed hostilities on its neighbour, reactions have largely been different.

At the heart of the impasse, Russia recognized two provinces of Ukraine - Donestk and Luhensk as independent countries.

A Nigerian analyst summarized the underlying motivation for Moscow's aggression as follows: "Main issue - NATO expansion across Europe since 1997. Russia doesn’t want Ukraine to join."

The West continues to threaten fire and brimstone- largely in diplomatic and economic sanctions - which Putin, the Russian leader seems to care less about.

For African countries, the reactions spans the diplomatic - calls for Russia to 'behave' - to the humanitarian - asking nationals to remain safe till plans are put in place to evacuate them if need be.

GhanaWeb maps how Ghana has reacted so far

Ghana's joins Africa to condemn Russia at the UN Security Council


Ghana, Kenya and Gabon; Africa's current reps on the United Nations Security Council, UNSC backed, condemned Russian aggression and upheld Ukrainian sovereignty in a formal statement earlier this week.

Kenya's ambassador spoke in harsh terms, on behalf of the trio, against Russia likening their (mis) treatment of Ukrainian sovereignty to African colonialism.

Government issues statement through Foreign Ministry

It read: "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."

NUGS calls for evacuation

The main students’ body, the National Union of Ghana Students, NUGS, also issued a statement calling on government to help evacuate stranded students.

President of NUGS-Ukraine, Philip Ansah also disclosed that the number of Ghanaian students and non-students in Ukraine could be around 1500.

“But we can also project that we have about 1200 students in Ukraine, we should not forget that we have non-students here who are businessmen and women. So in total, we have 1500 Ghanaians living in Ukraine now,” he told Starr News.

Parliament calls for evacuation plans

Minority Leader, Haruna Iddrisu submitted in Parliament that the government needed to take immediate action to bring back the stranded citizens.

“We should ensure the swift evacuation of Ghanaian students in Ukraine. This we must do to assure the students and their parents that they are Ghanaians and that they deserve our support.

“This is a matter of urgent public importance. I am indulging you to look at the matter because the Minister of Finance needs to make monies readily available to the Foreign Minister. The situation in Ukraine is very worrying, with imminent war,” he said worriedly.

His views were backed by Abuakwa South MP, Samuel Atta Akyea and Deputy Majority Leader Alexander Kwamina Afenyo-Markin.

Ghana's ambassador to Ukraine speaks

Ghana’s Honorary Consul to Ukraine, Dr. Albert Kitcher, stated on Wednesday that 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.

In an interview on TV3's Midday news on 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.”