ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – A Kurdish citizen studying in Ukraine was reportedly killed in Russian bombardments, a friend of his confirmed the news to Rudaw on Friday as Russia launches a military offensive against Kyiv and surrounding cities.
News of the death of a Kurdish student from the Kurdistan Region due to Russian bombardment in Ukraine circulated on social media late Thursday night.
A friend of the student, whose name was unidentified, confirmed the news to Rudaw in the early hours of Friday.
“He is from Kirkuk and studies in Ukraine, he lost his life in Russian bombardments,” Nechirvan Mohammed told Rudaw.
Mohammed noted that he did not exactly know where his friend had died, but he “thinks” it was in Kyiv.
Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack on Ukraine early on Thursday, with explosions being heard across the country and raising fears of a major war, following weeks of intense diplomacy and the implementation of western sanctions on Russia that still failed to deter Putin who had massed about 200,000 troops along the borders of Ukraine.
At least 68 people, including both civilians and soldiers, were killed across Ukraine since the full-scale ground invasion and air assault was unleashed, according to AFP.
The Ukranian health minister, Viktor Liashko, late Thursday said 57 people were killed and 169 others were injured.
Iraq and Ukraine share bilateral ties in various fields, including cultural, economic, and scientific ties with a large number of Iraqis and Kurds often going to Ukraine for university studies.
An estimated number of 5,500 Iraqis, including Kurds, are in Ukraine for different purposes, spokesperson of Iraqi foreign ministry Ahmad al-Sahaf told Rudaw English on Thursday.
A Kurdish medical student who is finishing his studies in Ukraine, told Rudaw English on Thursday that he came back to the Kurdistan Region over a month ago for personal reasons but did not go back to Kyiv following Putin’s threats of launching an offensive.
The recent offensive has sparked fear among Ukrainian citizens and others leaving in the area, leading them to flee their homeland or seek shelter in underground train stations.
Earlier this month, Iraq called on its citizens to leave Ukraine.