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Attack on Ukraine condemned by sector

Stakeholders across the international education sector have condemned the “senseless escalation of war” in Ukraine, after Russian forces began a full-scale attack on February 24.

Stakeholders in the US are advocating for special student relief for Ukrainian students in the country. Photo: pexels

Special Student Relief would prevent Ukrainian international students currently studying in the US from losing F-1 visa status

The Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration came together to call on the US secretaries of defence and state to “designate Ukraine for Temporary Protected Status” and student relief after it was deemed it is “unsafe for Ukrainians to return”.

“International students in Ukraine will likely face significant obstacles and complexities in the coming weeks, months and years,” said executive director Miriam Feldblum.

“Uncertainty over their courses or ability to remain in the US should not be one of those obstacles,” she added.

TPS would provide work permits and protection from deportation for those who “cannot safely return” to their home country, so the Presidents’ Alliance is pushing for its instalment in the Ukrainian case as soon as possible.

“A failure to utilise TPS promptly would be an abdication of this administration’s duties”

For international students, Special Student Relief would prevent international students from Ukraine currently studying in the US from losing their F-1 visa status while the conflict continues.

“This conflict represents the most significant attack on a European country since World War II,” said Jose Magaña-Salgado, policy and communications director at the Presidents’ Alliance.

“A failure to utilise TPS promptly and expeditiously would be an abdication of this administration’s duties to Ukrainian nationals in the US, and commitment to humanitarian protections and migrants,” he continued.

The American Councils for International Education joined the Presidents’ Alliance on condemning the Russian attack, having called the war “senseless”.

“For nearly 50 years, American Councils’ mission has been to create strong ties and mutual understanding between people and to help build prosperity and promote peace,” said president and CEO David P. Patton.

“It is towards these principles that we have worked in Ukraine and Russia since the 1970s and they will continue to drive our efforts in the future,” he added.

Universities UK International gave advice on its Twitter feed to British nationals, asking them to “follow the advice of the Ukrainian authorities while they remain in Ukraine”.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine will affect many people across the higher education community, including but not limited to Ukrainian and Russian students and staff in the UK, and UK students and staff in Ukraine and Russia,” UUKi director Vivienne Stern told The PIE News.

“UUKi is working with universities and government departments to consider what support may be necessary for all affected staff and students – the Home Office has confirmed that Ukrainians who are on work, study or visit visas in the UK will have their visas temporarily extended or be able to switch onto different visa routes,” she added.

DAAD, the German academic exchange service, also expressed its support for Ukrainians amid the ongoing events.

“We are appalled by Russia’s attack on Ukraine and deeply concerned about the lives of the people and the wellbeing of our partner organisations in Ukraine,” a tweet read.

It continued in a thread that while it is “committed to our long-standing partner institutions” in Russia, it is restricting academic exchanges at this time.

In a LinkedIn post, BMI president and CEO Samir Zaveri shared details of the efforts by Bulgarian startup launchlabs to offer those who are able to leave Ukraine into neighbouring Bulgaria support.

AFS Intercultural Programs, while not having any current programs running in Ukraine, commended the secretary general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres and his call for “restraint, reason and de-escalation”.

“It is at times like this that the clarity and importance of the AFS mission is on full display.

“We have worked for over 100 years to build understand between people in order to avoid future wars – our network is dedicated to continuing the exchange of people and ideas… regardless of the political situations that may arise between nations,” a representative at AFS said.

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One Response to Attack on Ukraine condemned by sector

  1. At the end of 1990s Putin became the leader of Russia by staging his first KGB style military operation – bombing Moscow apartment buildings to gain popularity and re-start the war in Chechnya. Putin killed his own innocent civilians, hundreds of Russians in order to boost his popularity and gather more war support. The US, EU and NATO should have seen his true face then, but decided to ignore Putin’s Chechnya war crimes and welcomed Putin to red carpet meetings and Bush even declared his trust in Putin. This further emboldened Putin who had suppressed all democratic processes internally in Russia and has successfully become a dictator and tyrant.
    Putin’s first test run to settle his political goals with military adventures and military operations was in Georgia in 2008. In August 2008 Putin attacked Georgia’s Samachablo and Abkhazian regions and successfully annexed territories of a sovereign country. What did the US and EU do? Obama administration decided to do reset policy with Russia – greatest mistake of President Obama and Angela Merkel, who kept closest relations with Putin and did not want to upset Putin. Russia was not even hit with bare minimum of sanctions for conquering Georgia’s two regions.
    This further encouraged Putin to find more military solutions to his political issues and goals. As Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili said “Ukraine, Crimea will be the next!” the EU leaders laughed at him. In 2014 the new reality sets in – Putin did order and conquered Crimea and Eastern Ukrainian regions. At that time the Obama administration and Angela Merkel received first reality check from Putin, but they made the second greatest mistake with Putin: They set bare minimum of sanctions, did not punish Putin for violating the international laws and let him get away again!
    This has turned Putin into a strong dictator backed by US dollars and EU Euros for the Russian energy exports (oil & gas), with more money going $$$ in his pockets as the crude oil prices went up, Putin was able to order more military adventures to settle his political objectives. In Syria Putin had committed number of atrocities against civilians and used chemical weapons. What consequences did he face? Absolutely nothing, verbal condemnation by the international community.
    And now we are in 2022. Post WW2, this is the third time (after Georgia in 2008, Ukraine 2014) Putin had ordered massive invasion and the war of conquest of a sovereign country. Suddenly the world woke up to new reality. However, the reality was established during the 1990s when Putin planned and executed the Moscow apartment bombings, the US/EU/NATO decided to ignore the warning signs and tried to welcome Putin into the international community.
    What is happening now in Ukraine should be the wake up call to the entire world. The post World War 2 international system & the world order has been shattered to pieces and international law had been completely ignored without any consequences by Putin again and again.
    What Ukraine needs is the world to come to terms with reality: Putin has to be defeated and the establishment/elite power structure of the Kremlin has to change. Before this happens, the Ukrainian military MUST receive all necessary lethal defensive and offensive weapons as well.
    The Ukrainians need to have anti-air capability to shoot down incoming missiles and airplanes from much higher altitudes, so the S-300/S-400 systems will be much welcome, however this is not enough. The Ukrainian army needs those MIG29s to enforce its own No Fly Zone, since the western powers are too scared to face Putin over even a limited No Fly Zone over humanitarian corridor. So lets give this power to the Ukrainians?
    What the Ukrainian side needs is Patriot missile systems as well and anti-artillery systems: radars, locators and smart artillery systems from the US.
    The above-mentioned weapons systems would have an immediate impact on the ground and will change the formula on the ground by giving Ukrainians much needed upper hand to control the air and protect the civilians from the #1 major killers: incoming artillery shells and missiles.

    Slava Ukraini! Glory to Ukraine!

    David Dzidzikashvili
    Ph.D. Candidate
    Business & Technology University – BTU
    Tbilisi, Georgia

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