UAE says Ukrainians eligible for visa on arrival, in apparent about-face


Messages written by visitors hang from the Ukraine pavilion at Expo 2020, as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates March 2, 2022. REUTERS/ Christopher Pike

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DUBAI, March 3 (Reuters) – The United Arab Emirates said on Thursday that Ukrainian nationals were eligible for visas upon arrival in the Gulf Arab state, in an apparent reversal of a decision to suspend the visa waiver for Ukrainians as thousands flee war in their country. .

Kiev’s embassy in the United Arab Emirates said Emirati authorities had temporarily suspended waivers from Tuesday, in a move that has drawn criticism of the Western ally country as Europe opens its doors to refugees from the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Read more

“Regarding reports on the issuance of advance visas to Ukrainian nationals to enter the United Arab Emirates, HE Faisal Lutfi, Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, announced that Ukrainian nationals continue to ‘be eligible for a visa on arrival to the United Arab Emirates,’ the UAE Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

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Asked by Reuters, a representative from the Ukrainian embassy said the mission was trying to get official confirmation from the United Arab Emirates, the tourist and commercial hub of the Middle East.

At the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday, the six Gulf Arab states backed a vote chastising Russia for its invasion and demanding that Moscow withdraw its military forces.

This contrasts with the UAE’s decision last week to abstain from voting on a UN Security Council resolution deploring the invasion. A senior Emirati official had defended abstention, saying taking sides would only encourage violence. Read more

Some diplomats have questioned the link between the UAE’s abstention and Russia’s subsequent approval of a Security Council vote to impose an arms embargo on Yemen’s Houthi group, which is fighting a coalition led by Saudi Arabia which includes the United Arab Emirates and has launched missiles and drones at the country. Read more

The Gulf states have tried to balance Western allies and Russia but face growing calls, including from key security ally the United States, for a global stance against the Russian invasion.

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Reporting by Ghaida Ghantous and Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kim Coghill

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