Pakistan expresses ‘serious concern’ over Ukraine crisis

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Sunday, during a telephonic conversation with his Ukrainian counterpart Dmytro Kuleba, shared Pakistan’s serious concerns over the Russia-Ukraine conflict.

Qureshi, taking to Twitter, said that he underscored the importance of de-escalation and the indispensability of diplomacy. He also appreciated the role of Ukrainian authorities in the evacuation of the Pakistani community and students.

He further said that Pakistan looks forward to continued and swift facilitation from the Ukrainian authorities in this connection.

Earlier today, the Pakistan Embassy in Ukraine stated that Ambassador Dr Noel Khokhar met with the deputy internal affairs minister of Ukraine to discuss the facilitation of evacuation for Pakistani citizens from the war-hit country.

A statement released by the embassy stated that they had requested a meeting with the commander of border points for the Ukraine-Poland border to highlight the issue of Pakistanis stuck on the Ukrainian side awaiting exit.

As the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalates, the embassy has provided updates regarding their evacuation efforts. The body stated that 125 Pakistani citizens have been successfully evacuated so far, while 376 have reached the Ukraine-Poland border, four are at the Ukraine-Romania border and nine at the Ukraine-Hungary border.

The embassy reported that a night curfew has been imposed in the cities of Kharkiv, Lviv and Ternopil, while the capital city Kyiv is under a 24-hour curfew.

Due to the increased conflict, the embassy stated that “there is no safe place in Ukraine” and the Ternopil district administration issued a warning on Saturday to civilians to keep lights off.

As cities in Western Ukraine, previously believed to be safe experience heightened encounters, including Lviv and Ternopil, the embassy highlighted that “the majority of students from Kharkiv have already reached Lviv and have departed for the Poland border”.

Furthermore, Pakistanis are being evacuated from Ternopil and Lviv to Poland, Hungry, Slovakia and Romania as the embassy is coordinating with respective Pakistan missions.

Ukraine, a democratic nation of 44 million people, won independence from Moscow in 1991 at the fall of the Soviet Union and has pushed to join NATO and the EU, goals Russia opposes.

Putin has said he must eliminate what he calls a serious threat to his country from its smaller neighbour, accusing it of genocide against Russian-speakers in eastern Ukraine – something Kyiv and its Western allies reject as a lie.

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