Edinburgh University bans students from travelling to Ukraine during their year abroad

This is due to the escalation of tensions at the Ukraine-Russia border

The University of Edinburgh’s year abroad coordinator has told students that the University can no longer approve travel to Ukraine due to the escalation of tensions at the Russian-Ukraine border.

An email was sent to all third year students studying Russian as part of their degree warning them that travel to Ukraine is prohibited until “the situation is resolved”.

There are approximately 20 University of Edinburgh students currently on their year abroad in Russia. Some of whom have told The Edinburgh Tab that they are deeply concerned given the situation on the Ukrainian border but that daily life in Russia itself is surprisingly normal.

Instead, the university is urging students to reconsider other locations for their studies, such as Latvia and Russia, at least until there is more certainty about the situation in Ukraine, before adding: “I appreciate that this is disappointing but your safety is paramount”.

It comes as a response to the changes in Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) advice about travelling abroad from the UK to Ukraine – which has been changed to essential travel only.

However for some regions in the east of the country that are currently controlled by separatist rebels (Donetsk oblast and Luhansk oblast) or already annexed by Russia (Crimea), the FCDO has said not travel there at all.

Embassy staff and dependents are already withdrawing from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, over concerns for their safety.

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia flared up again in December 2021. Now there are upwards of 100,000 Russian troops stationed along the border between the two countries. World leaders have expressed fears of a Russian invasion in the coming weeks or months.

A spokesperson for the University of Edinburgh told The Edinburgh Tab: “We have a responsibility to act in the best interests of our students and to take decisive action when there are concerns for safety and wellbeing. The FCDO are advising against all but essential travel to Ukraine. We can therefore no longer approve travel to Ukraine until the situation has been resolved. We are working closely with students to minimise the impact of any disruption to their studies and to provide alternative placements. We will review arrangements when FCDO guidance changes.”

If you have any concerns about your safety during your year abroad, you can contact the University of Edinburgh via +44 (0) 131 650 2257 24.

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