It has now been learnt that diplomats from South Africa and other African countries, stationed in Ukraine, have left the capital Kyiv, over concerns of safety.
Ukraine has been under attack by Russia since last week with Russian military officials launching air and missile strikes in cities and military bases. The attacks have claimed at least 352 lives and more than 1,600 civilians have been injured, but there are fears the figures could be higher, particularly as both nations fail to reach a consensus.
Russia’s Defence Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov had earlier asked people in Kyiv to leave their homes as forces would strike what they considered key intelligence targets. Konashenkov sid the attacks were meant to “thwart informational attacks against Russia”.
“We urge Ukrainian citizens involved by Ukrainian nationalists in provocations against Russia, as well as Kyiv residents living near relay stations, to leave their homes,” he said.
NO WORD ON SOUTH AFRICANS STUCK IN UKRAINE
With South Africa’s Ambassador to Ukraine Andre Groenewald being stationed in Kyiv, he along with other colleagues have been forced to evacuate and head to another Ukrainian city.
Speaking to eNCA, Groenewald said they arrived in Uman on Tuesday evening, 1 March 2022.
He said the initial idea was to move to Moldova or Romania but have reconsidered and are looking at some other options.
“The Indians and the Egyptians have moved out (embassies) and I’ve got the Nigerian ambassador with me. It just became way too dangerous – but what I can tell you is that we will not stop our efforts to try and get the people out,” Groenewald said.
For now, there is no indication as to how many South Africans are still stuck in Ukraine, but it has been reported that at least two dozen people have managed to escape to neighbouring countries.