Algerian graduate killed in fierce Russian bombardment of Ukraine's second city Kharkiv

Algerian graduate killed in fierce Russian bombardment of Ukraine's second city Kharkiv
Thousands of Arab students remain stranded in Ukraine amid intensified fighting. Arab states have struggled to repatriate their nationals since Ukraine's airspace was closed.
2 min read
28 February, 2022
The man was killed as fighting raged on in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv between Ukrainian and Russian troops [Vladyslav Madiyevskyi/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty]

An Algerian student in Ukraine was killed on Saturday after Russia bombarded the city of Kharkiv - the country's second-largest city - the Algerian foreign ministry announced on Sunday. 

Mohamed Abdel-Moneim, a 25-year old student, was seeking refuge in a shelter along with other university students from Egypt and Sudan when he was hit in the head by a sniper's bullet.

"Mohamed loved science and life," his brother Sayed Ahmed told Al Araby Al Jadeed, The New Arab's Arabic-language website. 

"We did not see him for two and a half years due to the pandemic and flight disruptions, but we were in constant contact." 

Abdel-Moneim had moved to Ukraine to study aeronautical engineering. He had recently graduated and planned to return to Algeria but stayed behind in Ukraine to finalise some paperwork. 

In a statement to the press, the ministry said it would try to repatriate Abdel-Moneim's body "by all available means". 

Algeria also said it was trying to organise repatriation flights from Romania and Poland for Algerian nationals who managed to leave Ukraine and encouraged those still in the country to take all measures to protect their safety.

Like Abdel-Moneim, many Arab students who had come to study in Ukraine found themselves stranded following Russia's unprovoked invasion on Thursday.

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Over 10,000 Arab nationals were enrolled in Ukrainian universities before the invasion, attracted by the relatively low cost of education and life in the country.

Most have not been able to leave the country yet. Commercial flights from Ukraine are not operating, and the only way out is through land borders, which are difficult to access amid the fighting.

Arab states have shown little ability so far to repatriate their nationals, many of whom posted videos on social media to call their respective government for help.  

Morocco is the Arab country with the most students in Ukraine, around 8,000, followed by Egypt, with 3,000. 

Algeria, which had around 1,000 citizens in Ukraine, did not ask its citizens to leave before the invasion.