Jordanians in Ukraine safe; some flee, some stay put, most hope for calm

A number of Jordanians arrived at Queen Alia International Airport Sunday evening after having been evacuated safely from Ukraine.(Photo: Ameer Khalefih/Jordan News)
AMMAN — 106 Jordanians crossed the Ukrainian borders into Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova, fleeing the conflict there, according to Haitham Abu Alfoul, spokesman at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates. اضافة اعلان

Still, many are stuck in their cities or villages due to unsafe roads and clashes between Ukrainian and Russian forces, he added.

The ministry announced Sunday the arrival of eight Jordanians who had been evacuated from Ukraine and flown to Amman via the Hungarian capital, Budapest, according to Jordan News Agency, Petra.

Some Jordanians who are still in Ukraine, contacted by Jordan News, said that they did not expect the situation to escalate, which is why they stay put, some are panicking, and others wait for the conflict to die down.

Farouq Al-Hindawi, a Jordanian citizen in Zaporizhzhia, east of Ukraine, told Jordan News that their windows were shaking early Sunday morning after a big explosion in their city and that he, and others, are waiting for instructions from the Foreign Ministry about the best way to leave the city.

(Photo: Ameer Khalefih/Jordan News)

Hindawi is hiding in his apartment with his family. He is in contact with the three other Jordanians in the city, he said, adding that he could not leave before because of his family and work.

“We are waiting for updates from the Foreign Ministry to inform us if there are safe paths to the borders to leave. So far, everything is available at supermarkets. Panic and fear were only during the first day. Currently, all the main supermarkets are open, fuel, gas, and food supplies are available,” Hindawi said.

“Until today, it was calm, except for the sound of explosion early this morning. I was going to work when my company sent a message telling us to stay home because Ukrainian forces were looking for undercover Russian soldiers,” Hindawi added.

Moayad Al-Harash, a Jordanian citizen in Zaporizhzhia, told Jordan News that he fled to the west of Ukraine to cross the border. However, he is still not sure where he will travel, as he will contact Jordanian counselors on arrival in Brody, a city in the west of Ukraine.

“The situation is scary; that is why I left for the west of Ukraine; I am still on the way, I am two hours away from Brody. I did not expect the situation to escalate the way it did the first couple of days. I was planning to stay, but then I changed my mind and left,” Harash said.

He added that the Jordan community is in contact through social media and communicating with other Arab nationals.

The admin of Jordanians on Ukraine Facebook page Waleed Doeh told Jordan News that he left Ukraine and arrived in Jordan on February 17 because his work forced him to leave. He agrees that no one expected the situation to unfold the way it did.

(Photo: Ameer Khalefih/Jordan News)

“Even those who had the chance to leave said that things might calm down. Because we live there, we understand the Ukrainian and Russian mentality and how close they are. More than 90 percent of Jordanians there did not expect this,” Doeh said.

He added that goods are available for people to purchase, but roads are unsafe to get to supermarkets or reach borders. Some might not have enough fuel to reach the far borders, he also said.

“Even when there is a safe border entry point, the issue is the way to it. We are telling everyone to be neutral and objective because they never know which side they are dealing with, since some are undercover Russian forces. It is a war, and everything is possible,” Doeh said.

Doeh, Harash, and Hindawi agreed that they are worried for those stuck in Sumy and Kharkiv, in the east of Ukraine, close to the Russian border. They urge the Foreign Ministry to coordinate with the Russian government to allow Jordanians to cross its border.

Abu Alfoul did not say whether the ministry had contacted the Russian government to secure the border crossing for Jordanians in Sumy and Kharkiv, but assured that the ministry coordinates with the Ukrainian government to provide safe passage for Jordanians to leave Ukraine.

He said that the ministry is calling on Jordanians to take extra measures to be safe and take refuge in shelters because reaching the borders is dangerous since military clashes limit people’s movements.

“Reaching the borders is dangerous, and some cities are very far from the borders, around 1,500 km far. In east Ukraine, there are military clashes, so the ministry is looking, with the Ukrainian government, to provide safe paths. We cannot evacuate Jordanians as long as there is no safe passage, which is what we are working to provide them with,” Abu Alfoul said.

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