Thursday. 09.02.2023
WAR IN UKRAINE

Africans fleeing war complain of racism at Ukrainian-Polish border

Social media users were outraged by some of the videos shared, with one clearly showing a Ukrainian border guard vehicle

26 February 2022, Poland, Przemysl: A border guard escorts a Ukrainian refugee after she crossed the border from Shehyni in Ukraine to Medyka in Poland. Many Ukrainians leave the country after military actions by Russia on Ukrainian territory. Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa.
A border guard escorts a Ukrainian refugee after she crossed the border from Shehyni in Ukraine to Medyka in Poland. Photo: Michael Kappeler/dpa.

Africans fleeing the conflict in Ukraine said they faced racism and discrimination at the border between Poland and Ukraine.

Some Africans said officials rudely stopped them from crossing the border for days, despite the cold and their lack of food or other supplies, even as they let white refugees enter the country.

Social media users were outraged by some of the videos shared, with one clearly showing a Ukrainian border guard vehicle.

Thousands of young African students are studying in Ukraine, mostly from Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Ethiopia, Somalia and other countries, drawn by the high standard of education and low costs.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama called on his Ukrainian counterpart to clarify the situation. He said he had "expressed concern at the news of Ukrainian border guards hindering the exit of Nigerian citizens."

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba "asserted that Ukrainian border guards have been instructed to allow all foreigners to leave. He promised to investigate and revert quickly," Onyeama tweeted.

Badly treated

South African students and other Africans were badly treated at the border between Ukraine and Poland, South African Foreign Minister Clayson Monyela also tweeted on Sunday.

However, Ghanaian Foreign Minister Shirley Ayorkor Botchwey said students from Ghana had not had any problems leaving the country, in a statement released on Monday.

She said 38 of the 220 Ghanaians who had left Ukraine so far had crossed the Polish border without any problems, she said. However, more than 460 people are still on their way out of Ukraine to neighbouring countries.

On Monday, Polish officials denied the accusations and a spokesperson called the social media reports "nonsense."

Africans fleeing war complain of racism at Ukrainian-Polish border
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