What you need to know:
- On Friday, governments in the region were assuring their citizens of the safety of their kin in Ukraine, even as some reached out for help from the embassies.
Stranded East African nationals in Ukraine could force unplanned evacuation bills on their governments as invasion of the Eastern European country by Russia impact cost of fuel.
On Friday, governments in the region were assuring their citizens of the safety of their kin in Ukraine, even as some reached out for help from the embassies.
Karanja Mwaura, a Kenyan in Ukraine told The EastAfrican that supermarket shelves were quickly running out of stocks as residents scrambled to stock food for of unknown. His town, Zaporizhia in southeastern Ukraine, where he lives with his family, was still relatively safe, but he said he could hear explosions and that people were trying to flee.
“Things are tensed here. People are panic-buying but ATMs are also not dispensing cash. Some are retaining cards,” he said on phone.
“We need cash to pay for the taxis to the border. I don’t know how we will do it now,” he said.
The nearest border crossing is 14 hours away by road to Poland. Mr Mwaura and other Kenyans had by Friday formed social media groups calling on the government in Nairobi to help them move to safe grounds. The group complained that they could not get into Poland because there had been no arrangements yet to let them in.
Macharia Kamau, Principal Secretary in the Foreign Ministry in Nairobi, said the government had issued a cautionary note to Kenyans to leave “as they deem fit.”
“So far, all the Kenyans in Ukraine are reported to be safe. Some, however, have been stuck at border points, particularly near Poland because of visa restrictions,” he said in a statement.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is in touch with all the neighbouring countries of the Ukraine within the EU to seek their accommodation and to allow Kenyans to transit through their countries should they wish to return home.”
Kenya said it had been assured by EU member states neighbouring Ukraine of providing necessary visas to its citizens who want to leave for their safety. It also suggested those who want to stay can relocate to safer regions of the country, especially western parts.
Uganda’s ambassador to Russia Johnson Agara Olwa advised Ugandans in Ukraine to provide information on their whereabouts to the Embassy via WhatsApp +79671181035 or telephone +74992302376. But the Ugandan diplomat said all nationals should follow directions from local authorities and monitor the situation on news channels. “It is our prayer that the situation will be short-lived,” he said in a public notice on Friday.
There are at least 200 Kenyans in Ukraine, most of whom are students. Kenya has in the past resisted pressure to evacuate stranded nationals abroad.
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