Fearing an invasion of Ukraine by Russia, President Ibrahim Solih has ordered to facilitate the return of Maldivians residing in Ukraine.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on receiving orders from the President has begun efforts to bring back Maldivians. The ministry has stated that at the time they are not doing a full-scale evacuation but are providing aid, financially to the students who wish to return.
A total of about 50 Maldivians are currently residing in Ukraine for education and other purposes. It’s been reported that a majority are residing in an area called Kharkiv, which is the closest city to the Russian border.
Students have expressed their fears about residing in an area where any invasion or attack could affect them first. They have requested for their return as the air travel will shut down as soon as any kind of attack or war breaks out.
The students also questioned feeling disappointed, why they need to be the ones chasing after authorities to help evacuate them while they are so less in numbers. Compared to students from other countries who are thousands in numbers and are still getting assistance and evacuated from Ukraine without them asking for help. They pointed out that the exact scenario has occurred in 2014, during former President Yameen’s administration when the war crisis broke out — the students said that their parents had to visit the Foreign Ministry and Officials, beg them to do something regarding the situation.
Tensions between Russia and Ukraine escalated when Ukraine initiated talks to join North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
Russia has stationed over 100,000 troops in the borders of Ukraine at the present.
The Russian Foreign Ministry issued a set of demands in mid-December 2021. This included a ban on Ukraine entering NATO and a reduction of NATO troops in Eastern Europe for its military forces to be withdrawn. These demands were rejected by the United States and warned if Ukraine is attacked, there will be retaliation form their side as well. Both the countries are on edges as fears of war emerges.
Among the countries that have called on their nationals to leave Ukraine are the US, Germany, Italy, Britain, Ireland, Belgium, Canada, Australia, Japan, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.