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By Citizen Reporter


No plans to evacuate South Africans stuck in Ukraine, Russia

SANDF soldiers won't be sent Ukraine to help repatriate South African nationals, says the Defence Minister.

Minister of Defence and Military Veterans Thandi Modise says government has not received a request to repatriate South Africans in Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

Speaking during the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster media briefing on Sunday, Modise said there were no plans to send the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) soldiers to Ukraine to assist in evacuating South Africans.

“Do we have plans to evacuate [South Africans from Ukraine]? Not as yet… we have not been officially told that South Africans wish to be evacuated either from Ukraine of Russia.

ALSO READ: No, these SANDF soldiers aren’t going to Ukraine or Russia

“[As] you know, [the South African government] believes in dialogue and we hoping that a dialogue will be actually be followed in this situation… that’s all I can say. If and when the need arises [the media will be informed],” she said.

On Friday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) appealed to South Africans stuck in Ukraine to try and leave for neighbouring countries.

The department said on Thursday that the South African Embassy in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, was monitoring developments closely and was also assisting South Africans who reside in the Eastern European country.

Some South Africans have since arrived at the borders of Poland and Hungary, according to Dirco’s head of diplomacy, Clayson Monyela, who previously indicated that there were about 250 South Africans in Ukraine.

Monyela said some South African university students have managed to get to the borders of both countries, but encountered some problems.

“[South Africans] students [and] other Africans have been badly treated at the Ukraine/Poland border. [Ambassador to Poland] [Nomvula] Mngomezulu has driven from Warsaw to go deal with the matter, receive our nationals and offer further support. [Ambassador] G Tsengiwe in Hungary is also attending to [South Africans] on his side,” he said in a tweet on Sunday afternoon.

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Earlier on Sunday, Expats South Africa said: “A few South Africans have managed to cross over to Hungary and others are en route. There is a South African headed to the Polish border. Overall there are South African expats [volunteers] on standby in both countries.”

READ MORE: Russian aggression must be condemned, says SA Ukraine body

The South African government recently called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to immediately halt the military attacks, urging respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.

Putin on Thursday ordered the invasion of Ukraine.

Russian soldiers made their way into Ukraine from the north, east and south, but have encountered fierce resistance from the Ukrainians.

The Russian Federation on Saturday further ordered its troops to advance in Ukraine “from all directions”, with the Kremlin claiming Ukrainian authorities have refused to hold talks.

Russian troops have entered Ukraine’s second city Kharkiv and fighting was underway on Sunday.

According to the Ukrainian government, approximately 198 civilians, including three children, have been killed and 1,115 wounded since Russia invaded the country.

Additional reporting by AFP

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