NAIROBI, Kenya – African nationals remained stranded across Ukraine on Friday, even as their governments called for an immediate ceasefire, urging Russia to respect Ukraine’s territorial integrity and withdraw its troops.
The rapidly escalating conflict is stranding thousands of African citizens in several cities, many of them medical and science students at Ukrainian universities. As Russia began shelling Ukrainian towns and cities on Thursday, many students took to social media to share their fears and frustrations. begging for help from their government.
“We are really appalled,” Mohamed Abdi Gutale, a Somali citizen now a first-year medical student at Kyiv Medical University, said in a phone interview on Friday morning.
Just hours earlier, Mr. Gutale said, he and 168 other Somali nationals had been able to secure buses to transport them from the capital Kyiv to Lviv in western Ukraine. He said they don’t know what their next plans are, “but we’ll decide what to do when we get there.”
Russia has loyal allies across Africa, with Russian mercenaries fighting insurgents in Mali, diamond miners in the Central African Republic and their weapons looking for willing customers. in Egypt and Burkina Faso. In 2019, Russia convened a summit of African leaders in the southwestern Russian city of Sochi as part of its ambitions to restore its economic, political and military influence in Europe. this continent.
But no African country has come forward to support the invasion of Ukraine, and some have expressed frustration at the Russian attack.
On Thursday, the Chairman of the African Union Commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat and President Macky Sall of Senegal call on Russia “And any other regional or international actors that respect international law, the territorial integrity and national sovereignty of Ukraine.”
South Africa, which is among the five BRICS emerging economic powers – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – also urged Moscow to withdraw its forces from Ukraine.
“Armed conflict will inevitably lead to human suffering and destruction, the effects of which will not only affect Ukraine but also reverberate around the world,” the South Vietnamese Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said. Fly said in a statement. “No country can avoid the effects of this conflict.”
In the wake of this week’s Russian invasion, Gabon, Ghana and Kenya, which are current non-permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, also express their concern and denounce the danger of using force to change borders.
“Conflict will do damage to Russia’s reputation,” said Murithi Mutiga, Africa program director at the International Crisis Group. “Many people on the African continent have cheered Moscow on speaking out against the US-led wars in Iraq and Libya, and now Russia will become the aggressor in a war of choice against an inferior neighbour. stronger.”
However, as the crisis unfolds this week, an African leader heading to Russia. Lieutenant General Mohamed Hamdan, Sudan’s second most powerful man, on Thursday meet with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, within the framework of a visit aimed at improving diplomatic and economic relations. General Hamdan, also known as Hemeti, was among the generals who carried out an October coup that deflected Sudan’s democratic aspirations.
As the fighting began on Thursday, African governments scrambled to respond to citizens’ begging for evacuation. Abdisaid M. Ali, Somalia’s foreign minister, said in an interview that his office has been in contact with countries like Poland in an effort to provide legal entry to about 300 Somalis. Francisca K. Omayuli, a spokeswoman for the Nigerian Foreign Ministry, said in a statement that it will evacuate its citizens once airports are reopened.
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