Mr Kwaku Ampratwum-Sarpong, Deputy Minister, Political and Economic, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, says the Government has released USD $2 million for evacuation of Ghanaian students from war-stricken Ukraine.
The amount, he said, was the first tranche of money released to the Ministry for the evacuation exercise.
He said, once that was exhausted, another tranche would be made available to ensure that all Ghanaians who had moved to neighbouring countries in Ukraine were evacuated to Ghana.
He refuted assertions by some persons that the evacuation effort was tied to the passage of E-Levy, and said without it, the country was on course to get stranded Ghanaians from harm’s way as that was the government’s pre-occupation.
The Minister disclosed this when he led some government officials to welcome the second batch of 24 Ghanaian students in Ukraine who were being sheltered in Poland.
Out of the 24 who arrived at the Kotoka International Airport in the early hours of Friday, 16 of them came via Qatar Airways paid for by the Government and eight of them on Turkish Airlines self-funded.
Earlier this week, 17 of the students had arrived in the country from Romania, adding up to 41, the total number of Ghanaian students who have arrived.
The Government has arranged with five airlines – Qatar, Turkish, Ethiopian, KLM, and Lufthansa Airlines, to airlift Ghanaians from various neighbouring countries of Ukraine.
As at 1700 hours on 28th February 2022, an estimated 527 Ghanaian nationals had crossed the Ukrainian border to other neighbouring European countries.
Out of the number, some 49 Ghanaians, including one child were received by the Diplomatic Mission in Prague, Czech Republic, and are awaiting processing for departure to Ghana.
In Slovakia, 25 Ghanaians had arrived and were on their way to Prague to be received by Ghana’s Diplomatic mission, while in Romania, 134 Ghanaians were received by an official of the Prague Diplomatic Mission and were also awaiting relevant processes for departure to Ghana.
Mr Ampratwum-Sarpong, speaking shortly after welcoming the students, confirmed that there were still other Ghanaians caught up in parts of Ukraine particularly Sumy and Kharkiv – the second largest city in Ukraine, and said Russians had surrounded those cities making it unadvisable for them to be moved.
He disclosed that some 91 Ghanaian students, many from the Sumy State University, were trapped in bunkers and “bomb shelters” and that efforts made to get them out had proven futile due to the risk involved.
“We have joined other African countries to lobby the European Union, and a presentation was made to the Russian Government. The Russian President has given the clearance to facilitate the movement of foreign nationals in Sumy, Kharviv, and other dangerous areas to give them a safe passage to neighbouring countries,” he said.
The Deputy Minister said in the next four days, there would be arrivals of Ghanaian students and that there was an elaborate plan to bring home stranded Ghanaians and students.
He said the Government had delegated the Deputy Minister in charge of Administration and Finance of the Ministry Of Foreign Affairs And Regional Integration, Thomas Mbomba, who was currently at the frontline in neighbouring countries where Ghanaians were taking shelter to ensure safety and facilitate efforts to bring them home.
“He was in Hungary and met some of the students and other compatriots who had managed to cross over from Ukraine to Bucharest and from there he would be continuing to Poland and Warsaw to interact with those who had managed to get there for firsthand information as to what is really happening there,” he said.