State won’t evacuate Kenyans living Ukraine yet

Ukraine Ambassador to Kenya Andrii Pravednyk speaks during a news conference on Russia's attack on Ukraine, at the Ukrainian embassy in Nairobi, Kenya February 24, 2022. [Reuters, Monicah Mwangi]

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is likely to have a ripple effect in Kenya’s economy and food chain.

The conflict is likely to affect the price of cereals, especially wheat, which is the main Ukrainian export to Kenya. The Ukrainian ambassador to Kenya Andrii Pravednyk has appealed to the international community to help fight the Russian offensive by offering military assistance and introducing tougher sanctions on Kremlin. 

“Our partners should immediately enact a package of new sanctions. We also call on friendly capitals to continue to strengthen Ukraine’s defence capabilities by providing additional weapons and military equipment,” Pravednyk told Kenyan journalist from the embassy. 

He said the life and security of Ukraine citizens, as well as the security of citizens of entire Europe and the future of the world order, depended on the world’s joint response against Russia.

War was not Ukraine’s choice, he said. “Ukraine always wanted peace and always tried to sit on the table with Russian Federation to try and find a solution, but unfortunately it was the Russian Federation who started that invasion today.”

The Kenyan embassy has said it is monitoring the situation in Ukraine but has seen no direct threat to Kenyans yet. As a result, Foreign Affairs PS Macharia Kamau said Kenyans living in Ukraine would not be evacuated. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “People who wish to leave are of course free to leave and can assess their own circumstances.”

According to Kenya’s Honorary Consul in Ukraine, there are 18 Kenyans with permanent registration and 183 with temporary registration, mostly students, as of January.

The National Technical University of Ukraine is a favoured destination for Kenyans heading to the Eastern European nation for education.

Macharia Munene said that the effect to Kenya would not be anything outside the expected rise in fuel prices that the whole country would have to contend with.

UK foreign secretary Liz truss said she would be speaking to foreign ministers around the world, rallying countries to support Ukraine and condemn Russia’s invasion of her neighbour. Macharia Munene, International Relations lecturer at United States International University, said that there would be no serious repercussions. “This is a global problem more that it is between Kenya and Russian or Kenya and Ukraine,” said Prof Macharia.