Kenya asks its nationals to leave Ukraine amid Russia tensions

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The government has asked Kenyans living in Ukraine to leave immediately, citing safety fears after Russia invaded the eastern European country. Citing “escalating tensions”, a public notice on Thursday urged Kenyans to leave by any 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 the telephone number +4317123919 or reach the honorary consul in Kyiv via +38442297913 or email ak@kenyaconsul.com. 

Officials did not say how many Kenyans are stuck in Ukraine but earlier reports said there are as many as 202 Kenyans, most of them studying there 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.

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