KT Exclusive: Students from Dubai stranded in Ukraine as flights suspended

One student said he was to travel to the UAE tonight

By Sahim Salim

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Published: Thu 24 Feb 2022, 12:32 PM

Last updated: Thu 24 Feb 2022, 3:18 PM

Some students, who were to fly to Dubai, are stranded in Ukraine as Russian forces launched an attack against the East European country.

Ukraine is a popular higher education destination for students from the UAE, especially those pursuing medical studies.

One student, 21-year-old Nazeel Nazar, was to fly to Dubai to be with his family tonight. He had booked the ticket some days ago as tensions rose between Russia and Ukraine.

However, his flight was cancelled as Ukraine closed its airspace to civilian flights, citing a high risk to safety.

Speaking to Khaleej Times over the phone from Kiev, the third-year MBBS student said he was to fly to Dubai with two of his friends.

“I woke up around 5.30am after a friend called, saying Russia had attacked Ukraine. This friend was to fly out in the morning and was at the airport when the attack happened. He had to return to the hostel as the airport was closed,” he said.

Nazeel, who stays in an apartment, said he was moving back to his hostel as a safety measure.

The boy had completed his schooling in Dubai before moving to Kiev to pursue MBBS at the Bogomolets National Medical University.

The Indian boy estimated that there are some 20 former UAE residents pursuing the same course at the university.

Nazeel’s father, Nazar, said the family was concerned about him being stranded and are “praying for his safety and that of others stranded there”.


Three UAE airlines - flydubai, Air Arabia and Wizz Air Abu Dhabi - have suspended flights to Ukraine temporarily.

Flydubai said flights have been suspended for today, while Air Arabia said the suspension is “until further notice”.

Wizz Air said the “airline must temporarily suspend all flight operations in the country”.

Russian forces on Thursday fired missiles at several Ukrainian cities and landed troops on its south coast after President Vladimir Putin authorised what he called a special military operation in the east.

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