Parliament rejects emergency motion calling govt. to repatriate local students in Ukraine

Nolhivaram MP Mohamed Nasheed Abdulla. (Photo/Parliament)

The emergency motion which was submitted to the Parliament calling to the government to repatriate local students residing in Ukraine back to the Maldives – has been dismissed.

The motion was submitted to the Parliament by Nolhivaram MP Mohamed Nasheed Abdulla (Mosta). Whilst seven members voted to accept the motion – 17 members had voted to reject the motion. Meanwhile, one member had not participated in the vote.

Nasheed’s emergency motion stated that it was being submitted to urge guarantying the safety and security of Maldivian students residing in Ukraine and India.

Noting that Russia has stationed military personnel at the Russian-Ukrainian border – he also pointed out that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky had given an indication that Russia may attack Ukraine. Therefore, Nasheed stressed that it is likely a war could break out between the two nations at any time.

Nasheed also said that should a war start between Russia and Ukraine –  repatriation of local students residing in the area back to Maldives would be proven much more difficult then.

“Seeing it as a responsibility of the Maldivian government to ensure the safety of Maldivian students currently residing at that country, under such circumstances, I call on the Maldivian Foreign Minister to repatriate Maldivian students at Ukraine to a safe location at the earliest,” the motion read.

Apart from the Ukraine issue, Nasheed also noted in his motion the fact that some Indian schools are forcing Muslim female students studying at the schools to remove their veils – whilst also being subject to violence. Therefore, he urged the government to ensure the safety of such students and eliminate obstructions to their right to religious freedom.

“Many female students studying at schools, colleges and universities in that country wear veil, so it is likely that BJP administration that is connected to extremist organizations will pose difficulties for these students. It is a responsibility of the Maldivian government to ensure the safety of these students,” the motion read.

Foreign Ministry said that they were closely monitoring the statuses of Maldivians currently residing in Ukraine.

The Ministry has also advised against traveling to Ukraine during this period of instability.

In a statement released yesterday, Maldivian students residing at Kharkiv, Ukraine, 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.

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia escalated when Ukraine initiated talks to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

In mid-December 2021, the Russian Foreign Ministry issued a set of demands which included a ban on Ukraine entering NATO and a reduction of NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe in order for its military forces to be withdrawn.

These demands were rejected by the United States and other allies of NATO, and also warned that if Ukraine is invaded, there will be retaliation through means such as economic sanctions, and deploying assistance including small arms and other defensive weaponry. 

The situation continues to escalate, and along with it, the fear of war. Russia has stationed over 100,000 military personnel outside the borders of Ukraine as of present.

Many countries have urged their nationals residing at Ukraine to leave the country, including the United States. Embassy of United States in Ukraine has also been shut down.