Ukraine tension: Ghana evacuates in insufficient measures

KUMASI, 1st March, (Futball Surgery)– Ghana evacuation citizens from Ukraine but in insufficient measures.

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Ghana has not sleep over the current political tension in Eastern Europe and appeared to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine.

The tension started on low grounds after Russia demanding security concerns response from NATO and the United States. Various dialogues have taken place including ‘frank and substantive’ talk to resolve the differences between Russia and Western Europe but no major breakthrough was made last two month.

Previous dialogue attempts only appear fecund in seemingly making sense for formalities but the fertility aspect for calmness and conflict resolution had been a missing piece in the Ukraine tension as Russia stood firm over its security demands.

Russia has demanded that;

  • NATO should stop its expansion to eastward/Eastern Europe
  • Ukraine will never be allowed to join the Western military alliance

Series of information and evidence gathered by US intelligence whispered that Russia President Vladimir Putin was going to launch invasion on Ukraine- who is seen as potential NATO allied- something Russia has never wanted.

In a televised address from the White House last two Sundays ago via the BBC, President Biden said the US had “reason to believe” that Russian forces were “planning to and intend to attack Ukraine in the coming week, in the coming days”.

“As of this moment I am convinced that he has made the decision,” he added, referring to President Putin. Previously, the president and his top officials have said they did not know whether this was the case.

Putin on several occasions had denied Biden’s claim of a Russian invasion. Russia deployed troops to Easter Ukrainian border after Vladimir Putin recognised the independence of two separatist-held regions last two Tuesdays ago.

The troop deployments saw a first wave of sanction from President Biden hit on Russia as key trace of evidence for attack as the US believes that move by Putin marked the beginning of invasion on Ukraine.

With the sanctions not something to deter Russia from attacking Ukraine, they went on with a very significant military action, exploding and blasting parts of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Odessa in early hours of Thursday morning.

A reported 40 people with vast majority of Ukrainian Soldiers killed in Thursday’s invasion. That had increased fears of more devastating events living countries with intense pressure to evacuate their citizens in Ukraine.

With Ukraine reporting that death toll has hit 198 and over 1000 wounded as at two Saturdays’ afternoon, Government of countries have realized the need to act smartly and swiftly to bring their members back home.

Like many countries, Ghana planned to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine with, first, the UK allowing embassy staff and diplomats families to leave Ukraine in January.

India made attempt to evacuate its citizens from Ukraine and has partly succeeded in that while Federal Government of Nigeria has engaged the necessary sectors for evacuation of stranded students in the Easter European country.

Ghana also made the attempt since last Wednesday to bring members home with various Government sources highlighting evacuation plans.

One big source, Ghana’s Consul to Ukraine Dr. Albert Kitcher revealed last Wednesday Government’s plans to evacuate citizens when speaking in an interview with Ghana’s TV3.

“We had all these (evacuation) in plan knowing this (tension) will develop (into war), so already, the Mission and the Ministry were working on the modalities to get the students out.

Ghana’s journey into Ukraine to bring home its members has been influence by Ghanaian students in Ukraine calling on Government for evacuation.

The stranded students hours after Russian full-scale invasion spoke with multiple Ghanaian media sources to share the security situation and made that passionate appeal to Government.

One student told Joy News’ program ‘Super Morning Show’;

“The situation here is very bad, we are all confused. Last night when I was learning I heard the first explosion, it was as if it was at the back of our hostel and we all are living in fear.”

“As of now, we are all in the rooms, but they are saying if you don’t have a shelter you should move to the underground. If God touches the heart of our government and they evacuate us, we will be very happy,” he said.

“Currently I have two bottles of water and four biscuits which I went out this morning to get. When I got to the shop, it was very full and there were only a few bottles of water. I wanted to buy bread but they [people] have bought all the bread from the shop, I was so shocked.”

Parliament through Minority leader Haruna Iddrisu came into the party, further tasking the Government to evacuate students from Ukraine but Ghana’s effort in bringing home nationals appears insufficient to carry out such sensitive military operation.

“We should ensure the swift evacuation of Ghanaian students in Ukraine. This we must do to assure the students and their parents that they are Ghanaians and that they deserve our support,” Haruna Iddrisu told Ghana’s Starrfm.

“This is a matter of urgent public importance. I am indulging you to look at the matter because the Minister of Finance needs to make monies readily available to the Foreign Minister. The situation in Ukraine is very worrying, with imminent war,” he said worriedly.

Ghana has progressed in military development over the years but in urgent evacuation moments like the one in Ukraine they struggle to match the tasks. Government’s insufficiency to evacuate citizens from Ukraine was evident in a recent statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Russia-Ukraine tension.

The Ministry’s statement came in response to evacuation requests to Government by Ghanaian stranded students in Ukraine and NUGs. In the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ statement, they failed to make bold claim for full-scale evacuation in the Eastern European country.

The Ministry only remained very low on complete evacuation while stating that Ghana has make arrangement for over 1,000 students and other Ghanaians to seek assistance at Government places of shelter in the war zone, Ukraine.

While this is a good short term remedy for the safety of citizens in Ukraine, the approach comes as a major blow for the whole of Ghana and make room for military improvements in years to come.

With most European countries able to carry out full scale evacuation, Ghana could be expected to hit the lines in coming years in times of huge political or military tension beyond its borders.

Before Ministry of Foreign Affair’s statement that raised concerns about insufficient measures, the Consul of Ghana to Ukraine Dr. Albert Kitcher was the first Government source to make a bold alert on the Ghana’s struggles to evacuate citizens from Ukraine on full scale.

On Wednesday, a day before Russia’s full scale invasion, when tension has heightened, the Consul to Ukraine revealed that Ghana cannot send members (students) home from Ukraine and went ahead to justified why that.

As complete evacuation from Ukraine to Ghana was in the minds of Ghanaians, the Consul stated that if evacuation was to be executed it will be to a safer place- in Ukraine or nearby country.

“Where we are now if we have everything we cannot evacuate because the Airspace of Ukraine is currently shut. What can be done is if we identify any areas that prove to be problematic or people will be vulnerable there, to relocate them or evacuate them to a safer place,” Dr. Albert Kitcher told TV3 in Ghana.

“If there will be any evacuation it will be an evacuation to a safer place. We ourselves are looking at the situation, as it is now, if a place is so close to the Russian border we will want people to move from there. I had a communication also from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Ukraine and they advise that people stay calm.”

On Saturday, Ghana made a crucial move towards citizens in Ukraine safety after been able to evacuate first batch of its citizens predominantly stranded students to a safer place– Romania which is still in the war zone not far away from the war front.

Ghana has since followed up with subsequent evacuations to nearby Ukrainian neigbouring countries.

The struggle to execute full scale evacuation in Ukraine are due to major crucial issues taking the attention of Ghana. One of them is military endowment which Ghana troops are fierce and naturally intelligence but lack modern technology for difficult missions.

With Ghana galloping economically over the years now, the coronavirus pandemic has worsen its financial standings. The Government has widen its scope for financial freedom introducing the E-Levy technology to increase revenue generation.

The financial problem goes down to be another reason why Ghana cannot carried out a full-scale evacuation in Ukraine. Due to its financial challenges, the Students’ Union have funded for a reported a significant figure of students in Ukraine to be evacuated to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Czech Republic with the Union’s President anticipating Government will delay (due to insufficient funds) in releasing evacuation money.

The President of the National Union of Ghana Students (NUGs) Philip Ansah revealed in an interview with Happy FM and e.TV Ghana that the student body presented a budget to the consulate but with the student union knowing it will take time for such budgets to be approved and knowing the nature of the situation in Ukraine and how fast it is escalating, they have no option to fund it by themselves.

“We didn’t have time based on how things where escalating (in Ukraine) so we took matters into our own hands and advised the students even if they don’t have money they should borrow for transportation,” Philip Ansah told Samuel Eshun on the Happy Morning Show on Happy FM and e.TV Ghana.

The European world has come into assistance in midst of Ghana’s financial challenges to evacuate citizens from Ukraine. The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey, who addressed a government press conference in Accra on Sunday (27 February), highlighted countries bordering Ukraine have helped- with sum of money to evacuate some Ghanaians.

The financial move by the NUGs and bordering Ukraine countries have earned a reported 460 students evacuated to Poland, Hungary, Romania, Slovakia and Czech Republic while another significant number- more than half of the initial figure are being processed to leave Ukraine for nearby countries.

After completion of all evacuations to nearby countries, citizens will further be send to Ghana to meet their families after such serial, stressful and pit stop journey from Ukraine due to on ground factors; undermined military capacity and financial strength to execute full-scale evacuation.




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