Africans fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine are suffering racism, it has been claimed, with black refugees blocked from public transport and threatened at gunpoint by marauding militiamen…reports Asian Lite News
Korrine Sky, 26, a British-Zimbabwean national who has been studying medicine in Ukraine since September, said the situation had deteriorated and become ‘like an apocalypse movie’, with armed vigilantes roaming the streets.
Sky, mother of a nine-month-old baby, told The Independent, she had been threatened at gunpoint due to the colour of her skin by local armed men as she tried to make her escape from the rapidly escalating conflict.
According to Sky’s Twitter, she has driven to the border with Romania, where she is still waiting to cross, and she reports having received ‘some threats of violence from some local Ukrainians who don’t believe we should enter’.
Meanwhile, Osarumen, a father-of-three and a Nigerian national, said he and his family were asked to give up their seat on a cross-border bus out of Ukraine, with the driver and military officers using the phrase ‘no blacks’ as justification, Daily Mail reported.
The current chair of the African Union, Senegalese President Macky Sall, and African Union Commission head Moussa Faki Mahamat said on Monday that they were “particularly disturbed by reports that African citizens on the Ukrainian side of the border are being refused the right to cross the border to safety”.
Osarumen told The Independent: “In all of my years as an activist, I have never seen anything like this. When I look into the eyes of those who are turning us away, I see bloodshot racism; they want to save themselves and they are losing their humanity in the process.”
Osatumen, who has been living in Ukraine since 2009, said he was stranded at a train station in Kiev, Daily Mail reported.
He said: “This isn’t just happening to black people ï¿½ even to Indians, Arabs and Syrians,” adding, “and that shouldn’t be the case.”
Responding to the reports, African Union chiefs said in a statement: “Reports that Africans are singled out for unacceptable dissimilar treatment would be shockingly racist and in breach international law.”
Nigeria on Monday urged border officials in Ukraine and elsewhere to treat its citizens equally.
“There have been unfortunate reports of Ukrainian police and security personnel refusing to allow Nigerians to board buses and trains heading towards the Ukraine-Poland border,” said presidential advisor Garba Shehu in a statement, Daily Mail reported.
Shehu referenced a video on social media where a Nigerian mother with a young baby was filmed being physically forced to give up her seat.
He said there are also reports of Polish officials refusing Nigerian citizens entry into Poland from Ukraine.
A group of South Africans, mostly students, were stuck at the Ukrainian-Polish border, the country’s foreign ministry spokesman, Clayson Monyela, said on Twitter.
Some Nigerians who made it across the borders described frightening journeys in the dark to reach traffic-packed frontiers where they were made to wait as officials gave priority to Ukrainian women and children.
Speaking from Korczowa in Poland, Nigerian managerial sciences student Agantem Moshe, said Ukrainian police had pushed Africans out of the way to make way for women and children, Daily Mail reported.