By Uganda Online Media
Kampala: The United Nations said on Tuesday that Ukraine wanted to repatriate its peacekeepers from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo following Russia’s invasion at the end of last month.
This includes the 250-strong contingent at the Goma base, serving as part of the 15,000-strong UN Stabilization Mission in DR Congo (MONUSCO).
In New York, a UN spokesman confirmed the news in a statement thanking the Ukrainians for their contribution to UN operations.
A date is yet to be announced for the departure. The withdrawal will also include equipment and helicopters.
“If they are leaving to strengthen forces at home because things have heated up lately, I must say that it is not a problem at all. They can leave to find a solution at home because it’s not important to be with us in the DRC, while things are burning at home”, said a local resident, Rede Kibanda.
“We will continue to pray for them for this war to end, because everything that has a beginning has an end. We don’t want this war to persist, even if at home in the DRC the war continues, but we don’t want that. With the help of God this war will end”, added Justin Maheshe, a local vendor.
Goma is in the eastern part of DRC and has been plagued by violence from dozens of armed groups for more than 20 years.
Currently, Ukraine is opening seven humanitarian corridors through which civilians can evacuate cities besieged by Russian forces, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has said.
Evacuees have already started leaving the northeastern city of Sumy under a local ceasefire, the regional governor said.
While the evacuation process is still on, at least three people, including one child, were killed when Russia bombed a children’s hospital in Mariupol, local officials have said.
“Three people were killed, including a female child, in yesterday’s attack on a children’s and maternity hospital in Ukraine’s besieged Mariupol, according to updated figures this morning,” Mariupol’s city council said in a statement.
Russia has refuted Ukrainian claims that the site was still functioning as a hospital, arguing it had been taken over by troops.
According to the United Kingdom, Russian commanders will be held accountable for ‘war crimes’.
”Russian military commanders, as well as people at the very top of the Russian government, will be held to account for any war crimes in Ukraine, the UK’s armed forces minister has said.
“Russian commanders need to remember that war crimes are not just committed by those at the very top of the Russian government,” James Heappey said during an interview with Sky news.
“They are committed all the way down the chain of command by all who are involved and these atrocities are being watched, they’re being catalogued and people will be held to account.”
So far bout 1.43 million people have crossed into Poland from Ukraine since Russia launched its invasion, the Polish Border Guard has said.
About 117,600 people crossed the border on Wednesday, the agency said in a tweet.