Home South African Naledi Pandor sheds light on South Africans in Ukraine

Naledi Pandor sheds light on South Africans in Ukraine

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The minister said between February and March there were 90 South Africans in Ukraine and 17 had opted to remain in Ukraine, 36 returned to SA and 37 went to countries neighbouring Ukraine.

International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor. Picture: Werner Beukes/Sapa/African News Agency (ANA) Archives

INTERNATIONAL Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor says there were South Africans who were in Ukraine and countries bordering it when they offered to help in the rescue mission between February and March when the war broke out.

Pandor said there were 90 South Africans in that country during those first two months.

But when they offered to help all the 90 South Africans to leave, 17 of them decided to stay in Ukraine, while others chose to come back home.

She said there were other South Africans who decided to go to other parts of Europe during the evacuation process.

Pandor, who was replying to written parliamentary questions from the EFF and IFP, also said South Africa still called for dialogue and negotiations to end the conflict in Ukraine.

The conflict between Ukraine and Russia has been going on since February 24, and thousands of soldiers and civilians have died and buildings and other infrastructure destroyed.

“Between February and March 2022, 90 South African (SA) citizens were registered with the South African Mission in Kyiv, Ukraine. South Africa endeavoured to assist all 90 to leave Ukraine. Seventeen (17) of the 90 opted to remain in Ukraine, 36 returned to South Africa using commercial flights, and 37 remained in countries neighbouring Ukraine. We will continue to work with partner departments to assist those still in need of assistance,” said Pandor.

She added that they were concerned with what was going on in Ukraine.

She denied that South Africa was indifferent to what was happening in Kyiv and other parts of Ukraine.

“From the outset, it is imperative to state that South Africa is not indifferent to what is going on in Ukraine. We are deeply concerned about the continuing conflict, the loss of lives and the deteriorating humanitarian situation. South Africa is on record calling on all the parties to the conflict in Ukraine to strongly consider diplomacy and negotiations to ultimately realise an amicable and lasting solution to the conflict,” said Pandor.

She added that the fact that parties had begun talks in Turkey was a step in the right direction.

It will be in the interest of both Russia and Ukraine to end the conflict.

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