Foreign Ministry: Five students in Kharkiv safe

The city of Kharkiv - the closest main city to the Russian border. (Photo/Aljazeera)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs has stated that with the exception of five students, all residing in Kharkiv – the closest main city of Ukraine to the Russian border – have returned to Maldives.

In the latest update by the Foreign Ministry, it was stated that all five students remain safe, and that ministry and the Embassy of Maldives in Berlin, Germany were in contact with them.

“We will keep communicating with them and provide assistance.”

Additionally, there are 14 students in Ivano-Frankivsk, which is a city on the eastern side of Ukraine, and the authorities are in contact with them as well.

Moreover, the ministry mentioned an additional student who was in a different city and stated that they were in touch with him as well. However, the ministry did not specify the exact location for this student.

The Foreign Ministry said that they will be providing updates on the development as the situation is evolving rapidly.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Tuesday, February 22, ordered to facilitate the return of students residing in Ukraine.

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir announced a military operation in Ukraine and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere with the Russian action would lead to “consequences you have never seen.”

Meanwhile, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in an emotional overnight address, speaking in Russian in a direct appeal to Russian citizens. “The people of Ukraine and the government of Ukraine want peace,”

“But if we come under attack, if we face an attempt to take away our country, our freedom, our lives and lives of our children, we will defend ourselves. When you attack us, you will see our faces, not our backs.”

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NATO and a reduction of NATO troops and military equipment in Eastern Europe in order for its military forces to be withdrawn.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 the 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 the 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 the US and other NATO members over the weeks.