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Over 10,000 Arab students stranded in Ukraine

Ukrainian officials are warning residents of Kiev that fighting is underway against Russian forces, which are heading towards the capital on the third day of Moscow’s military campaign. Here are the latest updates:

People gather at a metro station as they seek shelter from expected Russian airstrikes in Kharkiv, Ukraine. (Reuters)

Sunday, February 27, 2022

Over 10,000 Arab students stranded in Ukraine

Thousands of young Arabs who have undertaken studies in Ukraine are appealing to be saved from a new nightmare: the Russian incursion into the country.

More than 10,000 Arab students attend university in Ukraine, drawn to the former Soviet republic by a low cost of living and, for many, the lure of relative safety from their own troubled homelands.

Many blamed their governments for failing to take concrete steps to repatriate them and took refuge in basements or on the subway. Few dared cross the border into neighboring Poland or Romania in search of refuge.

Among Arab countries, Morocco has the highest number of students in Ukraine, with around 8,000 enrolled in universities, followed by Egypt with over 3,000.

“We left Iraq to escape the war… but it’s the same in Ukraine (today),” Ali Mohammed, an Iraqi student, told AFP by phone from the city. of Chernivtsi, in the west of the country. “We demand to go home. We are waiting to be rescued,” he said.

According to an Iraqi government official, there are 5,500 Iraqis in Ukraine, including 450 students.

SWIFT awaits legal instruction to remove Russian banks

International payment system SWIFT said it was preparing to implement new measures by Western nations targeting some Russian banks in the coming days.

“We are engaging with European authorities to understand the details of the entities that will be subject to the new measures and we are preparing to comply with legal instructions,” he said in a statement.

Western allies announced the moves in a joint statement as part of a new round of financial sanctions intended to “hold Russia to account and collectively ensure that this war is a strategic failure for Putin”.

Central bank restrictions target access to the more than $600 billion in reserves the Kremlin has and aim to block Russia’s ability to prop up the ruble as it plunges in value amid tougher sanctions Western.

Russian missiles hit terminal and pipeline in Ukraine

Russian missiles hit the Ukrainian town of Vasylkiv, southwest of the capital, Kiev, setting fire to an oil terminal, the town’s mayor said in a video posted online.
“The enemy wants to destroy everything around,” said the mayor, Natalia Balasinovich.

Separately, Russian forces also rammed a gas pipeline in Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv.

Photographs and videos posted online showed large flames rising under the night sky.

Russia closes airspace to planes from four other nations

Russia is closing its airspace to planes from Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Slovenia, a move that comes as Moscow’s ties with the West plunge to new lows following its attack on Ukraine.

Russia’s state aviation agency, Rosaviatsia, announced early Sunday that the action was taken in retaliation for the four nations closing their airspace to Russian planes.

On Saturday, the agency also reported the closure of Russian airspace to planes from Romania, Bulgaria, Poland and the Czech Republic in response to their action.

Macron urges Lukashenko to get Russian troops out of Belarus

French President Emmanuel Macron has asked his Belarusian counterpart to demand that the country, a neighbor of Ukraine, quickly order the departure of Russian troops, saying that Moscow has been given the green light to deploy nuclear weapons there.

In a phone conversation on Saturday, Macron denounced “the seriousness of a decision that would allow Russia to deploy nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil,” a statement from the presidential palace said.

Macron told Alexander Lukashenko that the brotherhood between the Belarusian and Ukrainian peoples should lead Belarus to “refuse to be a vassal and an accomplice of Russia in the war against Ukraine,” the statement said.

Belarus was one of several axes used by Russia to launch attacks on Ukraine, with Belarus being the starting point towards the capital Kiev, a senior US defense official said.

Macron pushed hard to try to secure a ceasefire amid the attack, using the phone to talk to all parties, diplomacy and European Union sanctions.

Elon Musk makes Starlink available for Ukraine

SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk says the company’s Starlink satellite broadband service is available in Ukraine and SpaceX is sending more terminals to the country, whose internet has been disrupted due to the Russian incursion .

“Starlink service is now active in Ukraine. More terminals on the way,” Musk tweeted.

He was responding to a tweet from a Ukrainian government official who asked Musk to provide the beleaguered country with Starlink stations.

“@elonmusk, while you are trying to colonize Mars, Russia is trying to occupy Ukraine! While your rockets are successfully landing from space, Russian rockets are attacking Ukrainian civilians!” Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov tweeted.

Internet connectivity in Ukraine has been affected by Russian assaults, particularly in the south and east of the country where fighting has been heaviest, internet monitors said on Saturday.

For all Saturday (February 26) updates, click here

For all Friday (February 25) updates, click here

Source: TRTWorld and agencies