FOREIGN Affairs and International Cooperation Minister Stanley Kakubo says 80 Zambian nationals have been successfully and safely evacuated from Ukraine into Warsaw, Poland.

Speaking in Parliament, Wednesday, Kakubo said 12 Zambian nationals were in transit from different parts of Ukraine and had been advised to head towards the border or travel by train directly to Warsaw.

“Out of a known number of 141 Zambian nationals, those still in Ukraine include the following: 27 that have opted to remain in Ukraine, 14 are in Sumy and unable to leave due to restricted movements, three are in Kharkiv, safe arrangements are being made to facilitate their evacuation and 12 are in transit from different parts of Ukraine and have been advised to head towards the border or travel by train directly to Warsaw, Poland. A total of 80 of our nationals have been successfully and safely evacuated from Ukraine into Warsaw, Poland. In addition, one student exited through Romania while two students exited Ukraine through Hungary. Embassy staff facilitated one student’s movement to Poland while the other has stated that he will remain with a relative,” he said.

“The embassy in Moscow has been painstakingly coordinating the movement of our nationals within Ukraine while Zambian staff from the embassy in Berlin, Germany have been stationed at the Polish border since Saturday to receive our nationals. In addition, our honorary consul to Poland has been at the border since Friday to provide the much needed support to our nationals as and when they arrive. Those closer to the border with Russia, are being coordinated and assisted by our embassy staff in Moscow through Russia.”

He said out of the 141 known Zambian nationals in Ukraine, 114 were scheduled for evacuation.

“Madam Speaker, as indicated in the various statements issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on 22nd, 24th, 26th and 28th February, 2022, there are 141 known Zambian nationals in Ukraine. Out of this number, 27 have opted to remain in Ukraine having integrated into that country’s society over a number of years. Therefore, those of our nationals scheduled for evacuation are 114. Currently, the Zambian government has evacuated safely out of Ukraine 80 of our nationals who are accommodated in a conducive facility in Warsaw where they have been provided with food, and other necessities. Our students were being facilitated mainly out of Lviv, where a bus organised by the Zambian government would take them to the Polish border at Hrebenne. All our nationals have been facilitated through the border formalities before being taken to join their colleagues in Warsaw, Poland,” Kakubo said.

Kakubo said 14 students in Sumy had been unable to leave the city because of restricted movements.

“Madam Speaker, of our nationals yet to be evacuated, one national is in Lviv, and has been guided to board a train directly to Warsaw. Three are in a city called Kharkiv, and arrangements remain in place to facilitate their evacuation. These three students are safe and our staff are in constant communication with them to monitor their wellbeing. 14 of our nationals are in transit from different parts of Ukraine towards the border and efforts are ongoing to facilitate their evacuation. We have, Madam Speaker, 14 of our students that are in the city of Sumy, located on the western side of Ukraine, very close to the Russian border. Unfortunately, they have been unable to leave the city because throughout this period, Sumy has been one of the most risky areas security wise, with extremely restricted movements in the area,” he said.

“The Zambian government continues to engage the government of the Russian federation, to request their assistance to facilitate the safe passage of our nationals through Russia. Our staff in Moscow have ascertained that all the 14 students are well and are being provided with enough food and water.”

Kakubo said government would also return the nationals to Ukraine once the situation in that country returned to normalcy.

“I wish, Madam Speaker, to reassure this August House, that the Zambian government will continue to work tirelessly, to ensure that our nationals are evacuated and brought safely back home. All things being equal, we intend to fly our children out to Zambia by Friday, 4th march 2022. Parents and guardians of our children are strongly urged to ensure that their children board the plane that the government has provided for their evacuation. Our nationals are dissuaded from trying to remain in Poland or other countries in that region as they may find themselves in even more difficult situations,” said Kakubo.

“Madam Speaker, not only will the Zambian government evacuate our nationals back home to Zambia, we will also return these nationals back to Ukraine once the situation in that country returns to normalcy. The government understands and fully appreciates that these young citizens, the majority of whom are students pursuing academic qualifications, need to return to Ukraine in order to complete their studies.”