What you need to know:
- The situation in Ukraine became dire on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his ground forces to enter Ukraine, as he raided crucial sites such as the Chernobyl nuclear plant north of Ukraine.
Kenya has asked nationals to leave Ukraine immediately, citing safety fears after the invasion by Russia.
A notice sent to the public on Thursday said the security situation in Ukraine was no longer suitable to stay and asked everyone to leave by available means.
“Following the escalating tensions and the attack on Ukrainian territory by the Russian Federation on 24th February 2022, all Kenyans living or studying in Ukraine are hereby advised to urgently consider leaving Ukraine and stay away until further notice,” said a message from the Kenyan Embassy in Austria.
“Those wishing to stay are strongly advised to exercise increased caution.”
The situation in Ukraine means that the nearest embassy could still not help. The Kenyan Embassy in Moscow, Russia, is also accredited to Ukraine where local interests are usually handled through an honorary consul in Kyiv.
The Mission in Vienna said Kenyans could contact it via Tel +4317123919 or reach the honorary consul in Kyiv via +38442297913 or email [email protected].
Officials do not say how many Kenyans are stuck in Ukraine but earlier reports say there are over 200, mostly studying on government-to-government scholarships.
The situation in Ukraine became dire on Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his ground forces to enter Ukraine, as he raided crucial sites such as the Chernobyl nuclear plant north of Ukraine.
Putin said in a televised speech that the West had violated Russia’s “principles of equal and indivisible security in Europe” by courting Ukraine, which he called “our historical lands” to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
“In response to our proposals, we invariably faced either cynical deception and lies or attempts at pressure and blackmail, while the North Atlantic alliance continued to expand despite our protests and concerns. Its military machine is moving and, as I said, is approaching our very border,” he said.
“Any further expansion of the North Atlantic alliance’s infrastructure or the ongoing efforts to gain a military foothold of the Ukrainian territory are unacceptable for us.”
Russia’s move has been condemned by many western countries. And Kenya, a member of the UN Security Council accused Russia of seeking a dangerous expansionist move that could awaken “dead empires.” Nairobi said it rejects “irredentism and expansionism on any basis.”
On Thursday, Dr Martin Kimani, Kenya’s Permanent Representative to the UN said both sides have a chance to negotiate.
“Kenya believes that diplomacy can still deliver de-escalation as a start to a broader negotiation of a renewed European security architecture. The world needs visionary leadership that reinforces the UN Charter.”
And the African Union joined the ray on Thursday, saying the attack was a “dangerous” move that could escalate.
Senegalese President Macky Sall, also the Chairman of the African Union, and AU Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat said in a joint statement Russia should leave. They said both sides should “establish an immediate ceasefire and to open political negotiations without delay.”