Scores of Ghanaians including students in Ukraine have called on the government to urgently evacuate them back home from the war-hit country.
It comes after Russian forces invaded Ukraine, with missile strikes and explosions reported near major cities and on its military infrastructure.
Speaking to Asaase News on Thursday (24 February), one of the students, Araba Mensah said they are living in fear.
“So, this morning a military airport in my city, which is about 30 to 40 minutes drive away from where I stay was bombed, and as a result of that it has increased the rate at which people are panicking and they are afraid.
“So, currently we really need the government of Ghana to come to our aid, if they can help evacuate us to our country and if when situations calm down, we can come back, we will be very glad, because that is what we need, because staying here is not safe at all,” she said.
“As it stands now we just want to come home to see our families so that our families too will be ok, because our families are so tensed, they are calling, calls are coming in every minute. It is causing a lot of fear and panic even back home, so we really want to get back home because this place is not safe,” Mensah said.
Reacting to the development, Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs urged Ghanaians in Ukraine to seek shelter in their homes or in designated government places of shelter, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“The Government of Ghana is gravely concerned about the security and safety of our over 1000 students and other Ghanaians in Ukraine and has asked them to shelter in place in their homes or in government places of shelter as we engage the authorities, our relevant diplomatic missions and our honorary consul on further measures,” it tweeted.
Meanwhile, the Ghana Union of Student (NUGS) said it has initiated talks with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the way forward.
In a statement, NUGS called on government to help evacuate students in a similar manner it did from China at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russian forces have invaded Ukraine, with missile strikes and explosions reported near major cities and on its military infrastructure.
The Ukrainian military says it has killed about 50 Russian “occupiers” and shot down at least six Russian aircraft, although this has not been independently verified.
Russia says that it has met little resistance and claims that Ukrainian armed forces are fleeing en masse, abandoning their weapons and positions.
Emergency sirens have been sounding in Kyiv since the first explosions in the early hours. Huge traffic jams have built up as residents try to flee the city after Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights.
Elsewhere, residents are seeking shelter in stations – and queues have formed for buses, cashpoints and petrol.
Several European countries bordering Ukraine, including Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, say they are preparing for an influx of refugees.
People are already arriving in Poland after fleeing the violence in Ukraine
Neighbouring countries have been reacting to the crisis.
The prime minister of the Baltic republic of Estonia, bordering Russia, said a number of Nato allies that shared borders with Russia had agreed to launch consultations under Nato’s Article 4.
Moldova has declared a state of emergency and is prepared to give help to tens of thousands of Ukrainians. Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda also said he was signing a state of emergency to be approved by parliament.
Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said: “We will continue to do whatever is necessary to shield the alliance from aggression.”
The US, EU, UK and Japan have imposed sanctions against leading Russians, Russian banks and MPs who backed the move. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a TV address the “hideous and barbaric venture by Vladimir Putin must end in failure”.