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Ukraine begins preparations to evacuate citizens from Gaza

by Martin Fornusek November 1, 2023 12:07 PM 2 min read
A view of Egypt's Rafah border crossing point with the Gaza Strip on Oct. 25, 2014. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
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Ukraine has begun preparations to evacuate its citizens from the Gaza Strip after Egypt allowed the departure of foreigners via the Rafah checkpoint, the Foreign Ministry's spokesperson Oleh Nikolenko said on Nov. 1.

"Following the decision of Egyptian authorities to allow the departure of foreigners from the Gaza Strip through the Rafah checkpoint, the Foreign Ministry and other agencies... launched the preparatory phase of the evacuation of Ukrainians," Nikolenko wrote on social media.

Cairo has opened the Rafah checkpoint on the Egypt-Gaza border, starting the evacuation process of some of the civilians trapped in the Palestinian enclave, Ukraine's Ambassador to Egypt Mykola Nahornyi told Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty earlier on Nov. 1.

For the moment, the crossing will be open to foreigners and wounded Palestinians, Bloomberg reported. Around 500 people have been permitted to leave the enclave so far, but Ukrainian citizens are not yet among them, Nahornyi said, adding that the evacuation will be processed in the alphabetical order of the countries.

There are 358 Ukrainian citizens requesting to leave the besieged Gaza Strip, most of them women and children, according to Nikolenko. Ukrainian authorities have sent a request to "relevant parties" for the citizens' permission to leave Gaza and are waiting for the approval, he added.

Ukrainians trapped in besieged Gaza: ‘We are constantly bombed’
Hundreds of Ukrainians have been caught in the crossfire inside the Gaza Strip after Hamas terrorist attacks on Oct. 7 prompted Israel to respond with a total blockade and intense bombardment of the small Palestinian enclave. Ukraine is now working to evacuate 243 Ukrainian citizens from Gaza, whic…

Valid travel documents will be provided to those who do not have them, and transport and other assistance for the evacuation of Ukrainian citizens has been arranged, Nikolenko said.

The fighting in Israel and the Gaza Strip broke out following Hamas' attack on Israeli settlements on Oct. 7.

Tel Aviv responded by retaliatory airstrikes against Gaza, a total blockade of the enclave, and limited ground operations. Thousands of people, mostly civilians, have been killed on both sides.

As of Oct. 23, more than 500 Ukrainians had been evacuated from Israel. Some 19 Ukrainian citizens have been confirmed as killed in Israel, and four others in Gaza, according to authorities.

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