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No plans to evacuate South Africans affected in Ukraine, Russia

Defense and Military Veterans Minister Thandi Modise says government has not received a request to repatriate South Africans in Ukraine in the midst of the Russian invasion.

Speaking during the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security (JCPS) cluster media briefing on Sunday, Modise said there were no plans to deploy the South African National Defense Force (SANDF) soldiers to Ukraine to assist in the evacuation of South Africans.

“Do we have any plans to evacuate?” [South Africans from Ukraine]† Not yet… we have not been officially told that South Africans want to be evacuated, either from Ukraine or Russia.

ALSO READ: No, these SANDF soldiers are not going to Ukraine or Russia

†[As] you know, [the South African government] believes in dialogue and we hope that a dialogue will actually take place in this situation… that’s all I can say. If and when the need arises [the media will be informed],” she said.

On Friday, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (dirco) appealed to South Africans detained in Ukraine trying to leave for neighboring countries

The ministry said on Thursday that the South African embassy in Ukraine’s capital, Kiev, was closely monitoring developments and also assisted South Africans who live in the Eastern European country.

Some South Africans have since arrived at the borders of Poland and Hungary, according to Dirco’s head of diplomacy, Clayson Monyela, who previously said there were about 250 South Africans in Ukraine.

Monyela said some South African university students have managed to reach the borders of both countries but encountered some difficulties.

†[South Africans] students [and] other Africans have been mistreated at the Ukraine-Poland border. [Ambassador to Poland] [Nomvula] Mngomezulu drove from Warsaw to handle the case, receive our nationals and provide further support. [Ambassador] G Tsengiwe in Hungary is also present at [South Africans] on his side,” he said in a… tweet on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier on Sunday, South Africa Expats said: “A few South Africans have managed to cross over to Hungary and others are on their way. There is a South African on his way to the Polish border. In general there are South African expats [volunteers] standby in both countries.”

READ MORE: Russian aggression must be condemned, says Ukraine SA

The South African government recently appealed to the Russian president Vladimir Putin to immediately stop the military attackscalling for respect for Ukraine’s sovereignty and independence.

Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine on Thursday.

Russian soldiers entered Ukraine from the north, east and south, but met fierce resistance from the Ukrainians.

The Russian Federation on Saturday further ordered its troops to advance into Ukraine “from all sides”, with the Kremlin claiming Ukrainian authorities have refused to hold talks.

Russian troops have invaded Ukraine’s second city, Kharkiv, and fought on Sunday.

According to the Ukrainian government, about 198 civilians, including three children, have been killed and 1,115 injured since Russia invaded the country.

Additional reporting by AFP

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