Maldivian students residing at dangerous area in Ukraine at face of war

Russian military personnel stationed at Ukraine's border.

A group of Maldivian students residing in Ukraine has stated that they are residing in an area where any invasion or attack could affect them first.

In a statement released by Maldivian students residing in Kharkiv, Ukraine, they stressed that they were living at the closest main city to the Russian border – therefore any invasion, or attack affecting them first being highly probable.

The students, in their statement, also said that none of the government authorities had contacted them regarding the matter. Subsequently, the students said that they had sought the contacts of the nearest Maldivian diplomatic mission to Ukraine – being the Embassy of Maldives in Germany – on their own.

They further detailed that a chat group was made at the request of officials from the Embassy so that they could clarify their inquiries and contact them in case of emergency. However, the students stressed that they were ignored in the group. The students claim that Embassy officials had only responded to them on the third day the group was made, after they had posted screenshots of new articles reporting on escalating Russia-Ukraine tensions – to which they were told “monitoring the situation in Ukraine as developments unfold’.

According to the students, the last they heard from the Embassy officials was when they sent a google form to fill in all the emergency contacts of all students.

“Nobody has contacted us. Nobody has asked if we are facing any difficulties living here. Nobody has asked us if we can even afford to go back to our country as the prices of tickets have skyrocketed to USD 2,500 within less than 24 hours,” they had said.

The students also expressed disappointment over government officials making false statements with regard to how they have been handling the situation. They also referenced a tweet by Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed to back up their claims regarding the government’s lack of concern for the wellbeing of Maldivian students residing in Ukraine. 

In their statement, the students also expressed disappointment over having to chase after the government to help them evacuate from Ukraine while they are so less in number – whereas countries that have more than 4000 students in Ukraine are evacuating them without them having asked for help.

In addition to this, the students also noted that they requested the government to issue an official document of notice to evacuate so that university can accommodate them on a mode education prior to the increase in prices of tickets – whereas they were willing to purchase tickets on their own and leave. However, with increase in price of tickets, the students stressed that not all of them can afford to the tickets.

Pointing out that the exact same situation has occurred in 2014 when the war initially broke out – the students said that even then parents had to go to the Foreign Minister and beg officials to do something about the situation.

Addressing the matter, Maldivian Foreign Ministry said that they are closely monitoring the situation developing in Ukraine and Europe.

As per the Ministry, they are in touch with Maldivian students in Ukraine – whereas the Maldivian Embassy in Germany is communicating with the students their student leaders regularly.

Foreign Ministry also said that its Consular officials, including Deputy Minister, had met with several parents today, at their request, to update them on the situation.

The Ministry stressed that they will continue to monitor the situation and take necessary timely actions accordingly.