Students rally in support of Ukraine last Thursday (24/2)Tobia Nava

Students still in Russia “must return immediately”, the Modern and Medieval Languages (MML) faculty told students today (1/3).

This follows Saturday's (26/2) email in which the faculty “strongly advised” students to return. Now, in light of new government advice, they say they must return immediately. “The risks and dangers are just too high, and traveling home could become extremely difficult very soon.”

Saturday’s email laid out more detail on how students should go about their return.

“In view of the increasing unpredictability of events surrounding the invasion of Ukraine, if you are still in Russia, we now strongly advise you to make travel arrangements to return to the UK as soon as possible, if you have not already begun this process,” the email stated.

“We realise that this will be very disappointing to many of you, but we must prioritise your safety in this highly uncertain situation.”

Students also received an email earlier that day confirming how far the return plans would be covered by travel insurance.

They outlined that the insurers would consider reimbursing students who want to leave, but only if they already had a return ticket. Owing to this, the faculty said that it would consider reimbursing return flights that are not covered by the insurance.

The Faculty and Year Abroad Office initially told students last Thursday (24/2) that they would support them if they decided to return early, and assured them that they would provide financial assistance if necessarily.

The faculty also repeatedly warned that they should keep “out of harm’s way” by avoiding any demonstrations and by being “extremely cautious in what you say publicly.”

Stephen Toope, the vice-chancellor, has said he “strongly condemn[s]” the invasion of Ukraine in an email sent to students today (28/2).

He said: “Joining with thousands of members of the Cambridge community, I strongly condemn this unprovoked act of war, and affirm democratic Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity.

“Our thoughts are with all those Ukrainian citizens now in harm’s way, and with those having to flee their homes to ensure their safety and that of their families. Our thoughts are also with those Russian citizens taking a brave stand against the war, often at great personal risk.


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“As people devoted to the provision and pursuit of higher education, we are particularly concerned about the safety and wellbeing of colleagues in Ukraine’s universities and colleges, and about the disastrous effect that this military action will have on the lives of thousands of displaced students and scholars.”

In the past week, students have rallied in support of Ukraine, with the Cambridge University Ukrainian society (CUUS) organising a rally last Thursday, (24/2).

Toope said that it was “heartening” to see communities coming together in solidarity with the cause.

He also highlighted three initiatives that people could donate to, these being the Council of At-Risk Academics (CARA), the British Red Cross Ukraine Appeal, and the UNHRC.

The University will also ask alumni to donate to a “hardship fund” to support students who have been affected by the war, and plans on holding a vigil outside Senate House Yard.

He added that “the University and Colleges will continue to pursue ways of supporting our students and colleagues, as well as supporting Ukrainian and Russian students and scholars put at risk by this act of aggression.”