Shafaq News/ Four countries expressed readiness to host Iraqi nationals seeking to leave Ukraine in the aftermath of the Russian invasion, chargé d'affaires of the Iraqi embassy in Kyiv, Hussein Abbas, revealed on Saturday.
In a statement to Shafaq News Agency, Abbas said, "Iraqi community in Iraq comprises 5,537 members. Some of whom have Ukrainian citizenship; some others have permanent residency."
"More than 450 Iraqi students study in Ukrainian universities. The Iraqi community in Ukraine dates back to the Soviet era," he said.
"We have anticipated the military operations, since January. We formed a crisis cell to meet the needs of the Iraqi community in Ukraine," he continued, "we formed a committee and placed hotlines under the disposal of the citizens. We maintain constant contact with the members of the Iraqi nationals in Kyiv. We receive nearly 1,000 calls daily."
"We contacted 37 universities and colleges in Ukraine. We sent official letters to request awarding Iraqis emergency leaves if the situation escalates...we also communicated with the students," he added.
"Since the crisis erupted, we formed a quadrilateral cell from the Iraqi embassies in Ukraine, Poland, Hungary, and Romania with 24/24 patent communication channels to discuss the evacuation of the Iraqi nationals if it is needed. We also have a communication channel with the Ukrainian foreign ministry."
"The tension in Ukraine renders it nearly impossible for a plane to pass the airspace. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior, is working to grant visas to Ukrainian citizens who are married to Iraqi nationals."
"Several Iraqi embassies have dispatched representatives to follow up on the evacuation of Iraqi nationals from Kyiv. Data will be collected and sent to Baghdad later," the diplomat said, "it is impossible for any country to count their citizens who have left Ukraine since more than 100,000 international citizens have left crossed the borders. We need some time to count our nationals."
"We contacted the Ukrainian authorities and the Red Cross to secure a safe road for the Iraqis leaving Ukraine. Alas, the Ukrainian side is currently unable to do so. We will provide facilities to evacuate the Iraqis to Bologna, Romania, or Bulgaria as soon as this road is secured," he continued, "the Iraqi embassies in those countries have already obtained the necessary approvals to do so."