The Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that 23 Jamaican students are on a train out of the Ukraine to Poland, while arrangements are being made for three others to leave Ukraine cities by way of trains to the Polish border.
Reports from one of the students' mother Donna Stuart, says the students who received a setback this morning due to heavy firing in the area by the Russians, are now on a train to Poland from where they will try to get flights out of the country.
A release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that 23 Jamaican students are currently on a train leaving Kharkiv Ukraine to the border of Poland. Three (3) students travelling from L’viv and one travelling from Kyiv are still awaiting transportation to leave on their journey to the Polish border.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says they activated all available resources to ensure the students arrive safely to Poland.
“We have contacted the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland and obtained their assurance in allowing entry and safe passage for our nationals. We have also arranged for them to be met at the Polish border where our Honorary Consul in Poland Mr. Gerard Piatkowski, will provide guidance and assistance to the students on our behalf when they arrive.”
“We will book and purchase their tickets for travel back to Jamaica and our Consular Affairs Department here at headquarters has already started work on identifying travel arrangements to have them return to Jamaica as soon as this is possible.”
The Foreign Affairs Minister further noted that two (2) students did not leave Kharviv for reasons unknown to us, however, the team is trying their best to get information to assist those students in leaving.
Minister Johnson Smith expressed concern noting that, “these are challenging times and we recognize that that the route to the border of Poland may not be a smooth one, but we continue to hope for and work towards the students’ safe passage and earliest repatriation to Jamaica.
We are appreciative of the support of our Diplomatic partners and nationals overseas as we seek the best outcomes for the students. In the meantime, we encourage the students to take all necessary precautions and to remain together as a group,” Johnson Smith said.
Earlier today, People's National Party President Mark Golding noted that the party had arranged Ten Thousand US Dollars (US $10,000) to assist the students with transportation, food or other necessities.
Mr. Golding said - "I have made contact with Prime Minister Holness to see if the funds can be routed through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, to ensure that the efforts are coordinated and seamless. We just want to get the money to them as quickly as possible to help to get them out”.
At the request of the students, Mr. Golding had provided a personal donation to cover the cost of purchasing train tickets for 25 students from the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, who are seeking to get to Poland.
In the meantime, the Prime Minister and Jamaica Labour Party Leader, Andrew Holness says he has now raised US $11,500 to assist Jamaican students who are under siege in Ukraine.
It's understood that the donation was raised through the prime minister’s Positive Jamaica Foundation, and is to be donated through the foreign affairs ministry to the students in Ukraine.