In the heat of the tear-down on Ukraine by Russia, with millions of people trying to flee for safety in neighbouring countries, disturbing videos have emerged online of alleged racist treatments of African expatriates escaping the country’s dire situation.
Following the order from Russian president Vladimir Putin for a “special military operation,” Russian forces started a wide-ranging assault on Ukraine since February 24, moving tanks across the border and bombing the country with airstrikes.
Amidst the panic, videos and reports from Africans in Ukraine have surfaced in the last 24 hours with claims that they are being denied access to trains and other modes of transportations in order to exit Ukraine, believing this is due to their skin color.
A tweet online quoted:
“Watch how they are threatening to shoot us! We are currently at the Ukraine – Poland border. Their Police and Army refused to let Africans cross they only allow Ukrainian. Some have slept here for 2 days under this scorching cold weather, while many have gone back to Lviv.”
This appears to be primarily occurring around the Ukrainian-Polish border in the northwest region, where many claim that border agents and local police are simply letting white Ukrainians walk in while refusing — or at the absolute least, restricting — entry to Black people.
Several clips appear to show a large number of African migrants and/or expatriates being abandoned at railway terminals – and not only that, but being pushed back as they attempt to enter.
Tensions are rapidly rising. It’s unclear who is making the decisions about who gets out first and how — but those on standby (in some cases for days) have the impression that they are a second-class citizen. As you can expect, this is rousing resentments and dissatisfactions, particularly in African nations.
Thousands of African students who came to Ukraine to study in Ukraine are also attempting to flee the Russian invasion.
African students make up about 20% of all international students in Ukraine. Morocco account for the majority of these students, with nearly 8,000 enrolled at Ukrainian universities. Nigeria follows in line with over 4,000 students, and Egypt with 3,500 according to Ukraine’s education ministry
“Some people have gone to get buses, but they’re not allowing Black people basically onto the buses. They’re prioritizing Ukrainians. That’s what they say,” said Korrine Sky, a 26-year-old second-year medical student in Dnipro in conversation with Insider
Many African students encounter additional challenges as a result of their lack of European citizenship. Foreigners without a valid visa are allowed to enter Poland and stay for up to 15 days, according to the Polish authorities. because of the ongoing war
Nigerian student unions in Ukraine told Al Jazeera they attempted contacting their embassy in Kyiv but received no answer.
Many African students are feeling despondent and abandoned as cities across Ukraine are targeted. Some African embassies have advised their residents to be safe in Ukraine, but no preparations to evacuate them have been announced.
Source: New York Press | Insider