State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem says his Ministry is still evaluating the exact number of Ugandans stranded in the recently invaded Ukraine.
On February, 24, Russia launched missile attacks on military bases in over the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, both located in the disputed Donbas area, as “independent” people’s republics but internationally recognized as part of Ukraine.
The conflict begun in February 2014, between Russia and pro-Russian forces on one hand, and Ukraine.
Oryem explains that they are unaware of the exact number of Ugandans stuck in Ukraine because most have not registered with the Ugandan embassy in the embattled European state.
Permanent Secretary Foreign Affairs Ministry Vincent Bagiire explained further in an article to the Daily Monitor
“It is not mandatory to register students for instance students who study abroad with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, so the exact number is not known.But we are in-touch with our contacts in Ukraine and they are on standby to assist Ugandans in need,” he said
Oryem also states that, besides establishing those stuck abroad, it might be complicated to evacuate them as they may not be interested. He cites the unrest in Afhghanistan where Ugandans refused to return despite efforts to evacuate them.
“Remember when we had the Afhaghanistan crisis and you people were on our case but we approached the Ugandans and they said they dont want to comeback.Return to Uganda and do what, they said, so it becomes complicated,” Oryem said
The Taliban took power 20 years after a US-led intervention ousted them in 2001. The Islamist group seized control prompting tens of thousands of people to flee their homes including Ugandans.
He also states that Uganda is still evaluating its position on the ongoing war and will give its position on the matter when President Yoweri Museveni returns from Kinshasa in the DRC. He adds that so far, both countries are friends and enjoy diplomatic relationships with Uganda.
“Both sides are our allies and conflict has implications not just on trade but international peace,” he said
Russia made various claims about its gains in the war, saying troops had advanced in Donetsk and Luhansk. It also said more than 150 Ukrainian troops had surrendered and that dozens of Ukrainian military infrastructure sites, weapons and vehicles had been destroyed.
Ukraine’s armed forces, meanwhile, made their own competing claims in a Facebook post earlier that, they were holding the line in Donetsk and Luhansk where Russian troops had had “no success” and had also pushed back Russian troops in other areas.
Russia’s military forces are targeting dozens of civilian sites, an official at Ukraine’s Interior Ministry has said.
Countries around the world are imposing fresh sanctions against Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
The European Union, Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan all hit Moscow with new injunctions on Friday, condemning Russia’s war attacks.
On Thursday, the United States and United Kingdom also unveiled more measures against Russia as both nations’ leaders condemned the actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin.