Foreign Ministry: 35 students in Kharkiv, Ukraine; 25 departed today

A road in Ukraine.

Foreign Ministry has stated that 25 students from the 35 local students residing at Kharkiv, Ukraine will be departing to Maldives today amidst fears of war breaking out between Ukraine and Russia.

Giving an update regarding the situation of local students in Ukraine, Foreign Ministry said that one student is currently in Male’ City, whereas four more had departed the country on Friday.

Whilst five students remain in Ukraine, they reside Kharkiv; the closest main city to the Russian border – therefore any invasion, or attack affecting them first being highly probable. However, Foreign Ministry said that the students are in the process of leaving the city.

Foreign Ministry stressed that the Ministry and the Maldivian Embassy in Berlin, Germany – the nearest Maldivian diplomatic mission to Ukraine – are in touch with the students and guiding them throughout this crisis.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ordered to repatriate Maldivians residing in Ukraine on Tuesday.

Ukraine-Russian crisis

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NATO and a reduction of NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe in order for its military forces to be withdrawn.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 a large number of military personnel and military equipment outside the borders of Ukraine as of present.

Many countries have urged their nationals residing in Ukraine to leave the country, including the United States (US). 

Russia has repeatedly stated that they have no plans of attacking first to trigger a war. They claim that the military personnel and equipment have been stationed outside of borders of Ukraine to defend themselves in case NATO military personnel cross Russian borders as part of US efforts to make Ukraine a member of NATO.

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry has stated that they will defeat Russia in case of an invasion – noting that over 2,000 tons of military equipment have been acquired by Ukraine through US and other NATO members over the weeks.