The department of international relations and Cooperation (Dirco) on Friday appealed to South Africans in the strife-torn Ukraine to try and leave for neighbouring countries.
This as Russian bombings continued to pummel onto Ukranian cities and towns, with tanks closing in on the capital Kyiv on Friday. Russia’s military onslaught drew condemnation from across the world, and led to the US and the EU imposing immediate sanctions on Russia.
Residents fled the country, with some making it into neighbouring countries such as Romania and Poland.
According to the UN Refugee Agency, about 100,000 people have been displaced since Russia’s invasion in the past two days.
Every South African in the Ukraine is advised to register by forwarding their passport details to Dirco, said head of diplomacy, Clayson Monyela.
“South Africans still remaining in the Ukraine are encouraged to use all means of transport available to travel to any neighbouring country. The SA Embassy reports that trains in the Ukraine are operational.
“Please note that the Embassy in Ukraine is still operational. Ambassador Andre Groenewald can be reached via WhatsApp on: +380 50 310 1461. He is in contact with South Africans in Ukraine including SA students,” he said in a tweet.
Passport and contact details should be emailed to CICC1@dirco.gov.za and must include contact information and addresses of relatives back home in South Africa.
Meanwhile, Expats SA reported back through a tweet that students were not allowed to board trains and leave because they were foreigners.
The groups of students were huddled and sheltered in a subway and were later moved to board a train. However, the students were told foreigners were not allowed to board.
“We’re hoping that an alternative can be found. At the moment they are at a train station with different foreign nationals,” the organisation said on its Twitter account.
Earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa called on the United Nations to lead in mediation in the conflict. The president said international organisations should engage and mediate between the two countries to end the war.