In Beirut, the minister of foreign affairs and emigrants, Abdallah Bou Habib, advised Lebanese citizens in Ukraine to “stay in safe places until things clear up.” There are “no safe corridors” for leaving now, he said.
The ministry is planning evacuate those who have made it to Poland or Romania by air, but it has not said when.
Close to Safety, but Still Trapped
Even students in cities far from the combat zones are finding themselves trapped.
Ali Muhammad, a 25-year-old engineering student from Iraq who had hoped to graduate this year, is in Chernivtsi, a western Ukrainian city close to the Romanian border, but is unable to leave. Dozens of daily contacts with his country’s embassy have been in vain.
“I left Iraq to escape war and change the way I lived, from war, fatigue and problems,” he told AFP. “Today, I live the same scenario and see the same fear in the eyes of people and children.”
Iraqi and Syrian students face the most difficulties in returning to their countries, Muhammad said. “We are waiting for relief,” he said.
Ahmed Al-Sahaf, a spokesman for the Iraqi Foreign Ministry, said there are 5,537 Iraqis in Ukraine, 450 of whom are university students.
Egyptians Stranded in Kharkiv
A number of Egyptian students are stranded in Kharkiv. Saad Abu Saada, a 25-year-old pharmacy student, said he and a few compatriots were among only a few international students remaining in university housing. Dozens of international students from other countries have departed, he said, following the instructions of their embassies, but the Egyptians have been unable to leave.
The Egyptian embassy “hasn’t done anything yet,” Abu Saada told AFP. “We are four Egyptians. All our friends left us.”
About 6,000 Egyptian nationals reside in Ukraine, the embassy said. More than half of them are students, and most of them are in Kharkiv.
The ministry has announced on Facebook that it is coordinating the evacuation of its citizens to Romania and Poland.
Collecting at Border Points
Other Arab countries are making efforts to evacuate their citizens. Morocco called on its nationals to go to border points with Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland.
Tunisia, which does not have a diplomatic representation in Ukraine, plans to send planes to Poland and Romania to bring back any of its 1,700 nationals, 80 percent of whom are students.
“We will start our operations as soon as we finish the list of Tunisians who want to return,” Mohamed Trabelsi, an official with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, told AFP. He said the ministry has contacts with the United Nations and the International Red Cross to help evacuate them by land.
Libya has identified, according to its embassy, gathering points in Ukraine for its three thousand nationals, to be evacuated to Slovakia.
Algeria, which is linked by military agreements with Russia, was an exception. It has not invited its approximately 1,000 students in Ukraine to leave the country. Instead, officials have urged them to “exercise extreme caution and not leave their homes except in emergencies.”