On Thursday 24th February 2022, Russia attacked Ukraine following long-time conflict between the two countries related to Ukraine’s decision to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
The invasion has left a number of citizens displaced while others fled to neighbouring countries.
The United Nations (UN) has announced that over 200,000 have so far fled Ukraine within four days of the crisis with projections of between 4 and 7 million people expected to flee the country.
Ukraine accommodates many foreigners including Rwandans who have been living in the country for various reasons particularly pursuing studies.
So far, 18 Rwandans have reached Poland as the crisis continues to escalate.
At the onset of the crisis, Rwanda through its embassy in Germany which oversees its interests in Ukraine rushed to gather information about nationals living in the country and contacted their families.
Speaking to IGIHE, the Deputy Spokesperson of the Government of Rwanda, Alain Mukuralinda has said that Rwandans in the country are still safe.
“As of today, the Government of Rwanda is aware of how the 85 Rwandans are getting along through its embassy in Germany which oversees its interests in Ukraine and Poland where Rwandans are fleeing through,” he said.
“The Government has their phone numbers, email addresses, location and know where their parents stay in Rwanda. They are all in touch with the embassy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and parents,” Mukuralinda added.
Mukuralinda has disclosed that 18 Rwandans have already crossed to Poland while 27 are on the way to Poland where they are staying in 50 kilometers away from the border with Poland.
“We are informed that 18 Rwandans have crossed to Poland from Ukraine. There are more 27 Rwandans that have not yet reached the border because Ukraine set a road block in 50 kilometers from the border with Poland. They are in-between and can hardly move due to crowded people. Those arriving there, prefer to foot the journey until they reach the border,” he said.
The Deputy Spokesperson explained that there are financial shortfalls where people might face hindrances while withdrawing or be limited to withdraw certain amount of money.
Mukuralinda also disclosed that there are 34 in war-tone zone where it is difficult to leave at the moment.
“We have their identifications in our database, know their location, they speak to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and parents. The most important thing is that we have neither confirmed deaths nor injuries amidst the war between Russia and Ukraine,” he said.
The Government of Poland has announced that it will host refugees temporary for two weeks before moving to their motherlands or third countries.
Rwanda has urged parents or relatives of nationals stuck in Ukraine to start considering how they will collaborate with the Government to repatriate them.
“Parents and relatives should be aware that people reaching Poland will not stay there. They need to start thinking how they will leave the country and seek assistance in case they fail,” he said.