Ukraine: African migrants say they’re facing discrimination while trying to flee war zone

"When I look into the eyes of those who are turning us away, I see bloodshot racism,'" a Nigerian national in Ukraine recently told the Telegraph.

Reports of African migrants being blocked from leaving Ukraine have flooded in since Russian military forces began invading the country last week.

Tens of thousands of African students studying medicine, engineering and other disciplines in the eastern European nation — where higher education is more affordable than in it is in western Europe — have been stranded in major cities under attack by Russian tanks, planes and missiles, according to Reuters and Business Insider.

Polish Border Towns Receive Mass Influx Of Ukrainians Fleeing Russian Armed Invasion
A Nigerian child stands next to her mother after arriving by bus to a supermarket parking lot from the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing Feb. 26, 2022 in Przemysl, Poland. (Photo by Omar Marques/Getty Images)

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports more than 500,000 people in Ukraine have been displaced amid the conflict, which has left at least 102 civilians dead, UN Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet told Reuters on Monday.

Commercial flights in and out of Ukraine have ceased since military jets started battling in the sky over the country on Thursday. Black migrants say they’ve been blocked from jumping on trains and buses leaving Ukranian war zones.

Nigerian national Osarumen told the Telegraph that he and his family were among a group of Black people forced off a bus heading to one of Ukraine’s borders.

“In all of my years as an activist, I have never seen anything like this,” the father of three told the British newspaper. “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.”

Korrine Sky, a Black student in Ukraine who has been coordinating evacuation routes for African students, recently told Business Insider that Black people are being denied access to buses leaving the country.

“They’re prioritizing Ukrainians. That’s what they say,” Sky told Business Insider.

Nigerian government officials condemned the reported treatment of some of their foreign nationals on Monday after receiving reports of Ukrainian police and security officials denying Nigerians access to buses and trains traveling to the Ukraine-Poland border, according to The Guardian.

“All who flee a conflict situation have the same right to safe passage under UN convention and the colour of their passport or their skin should make no difference,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said in a statement.

“One group of Nigerian students having been repeatedly refused entry into Poland have concluded they have no choice but to travel again across Ukraine and attempt to exit the country via the border with Hungary,” he added.

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