Arab students and professionals in Ukraine have been warily watching for days as tensions mount on the country’s borders with Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin deepened the crisis on Monday evening, when he announced that Moscow recognised the independence of two separatist regions in eastern Ukraine and that the Minsk Agreements—cease-fire accords signed in 2014 and 2015—no longer existed.
Speaking earlier in the day, however, Taif Al-Hadeethi, an Iraqi sixth-year medical student at Sumy State University in northeastern Ukraine, played down the threat of war. He told Al-Fanar Media he thought the international media had been overdramatising routine security problems in Ukraine since 2014.
“Apart from Luhansk and Donetsk, the two regions claimed by Russia, life is quite normal,” Al-Hadeethi said. “People have not started to store food. Arab residents and Ukrainians are not afraid. They would laugh if you asked them about a possible war.”
Hamad Al-Khrisha, a Jordanian first-year medical student at National Pirogov Memorial Medical University, in Vinnytsya, in west-central Ukraine, thinks it is a mere propaganda war. “I do not think serious things will happen. My parents are urging me to go back to Jordan, but I am not afraid.”