Ukraine ambassador: How row with Russia affects Kenya

Ukraine’s ambassador to Kenya Andrii Pravednyk

Ukraine’s ambassador to Kenya Andrii Pravednyk. He said if the dispute between his country and Russia escalates, Kenyans who would like to study in the eastern European country will not be able to do so.

Photo credit: Sila Kiplagat | Nation Media Group

Ukraine’s ambassador to Kenya, Andrii Pravednyk, has said if the dispute between his country and Russia escalates, Kenyans who would like to study in the eastern European country will not be able to do so.

Speaking at the embassy in Nairobi on Thursday, Mr Pravednyk said that even though the number of young Kenyans who have applied for visas doubled in the past two years, they will unfortunately have to leave Ukraine if the tensions escalate.

“But when we win, we will be more than happy to see more Kenyans coming to Ukraine (to) study,” he said.

“Now we have at the final stages a draft agreement on education between Ukraine and Kenya, whereby Ukraine is planning to allocate some scholarships to bright young Kenyans who will not be able to pay for their education otherwise.”

Exports will be affected

He also said that if the Russian invasion of his country intensifies, many Ukrainian companies will not be able to export their goods as they did before, and the effect will be felt in Kenya and all trading partners. Exports to Ukraine will also be affected, he noted.

“Economic relations with Kenya are still growing, and this year, we generated about $250 million, which was a breakthrough for Ukraine and an increase from $92 million,” he said.

“Trade was flourishing. If we manage to have international support and assistance, we will be in a position to restore trade between Ukraine and (Kenya). I am sure that we will win, and all Ukranians are eager to fight and defend Ukraine.”

He explained that he was yet to meet with senior Kenyan government officials, but that he hoped to obtain Kenya’s support as a member of the Security Council.

Mission to destroy

He emphasised that Russia is on a mission to destroy the Ukrainian state, seize its territory by force and occupy it. To counter this, he said, Ukraine had activated its right to self-defence in accordance with international law.

“The Russian armed forces are launching attacks on peaceful Ukrainian cities from different directions…this is an act of war, an attack on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, a brutal violation of the UN Charter,” he said.

He called on the international community to act swiftly and impose strict sanctions on Russia to undermine its ability to fight foreign countries and stop its President Vladimir Putin's aggression towards Ukraine.

Strengthen Ukraine’s defence

“We also call on friendly capitals to continue strengthening Ukraine’s defence capabilities by providing weapons and military equipment,” he said.

“Not only the lives and security of Ukrainian citizens, but also the security of citizens of the entire Europe and the future of the world order depend on our joint response.”

He added: “We would be grateful to the Kenyan government if Kenya’s representative condemns Russia for invading Ukraine.

“Initially, there was a hope for peaceful resolution of the occupation of some areas of Ukraine, but with the start of this invasion, there is no room for peaceful negotiations anymore, and the only way is to defend ourselves.”