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Russia and Ukraine: African and Indian students report discrimination at Ukraine border

Russia and Ukraine: African and Indian students report discrimination at Ukraine border

  • Stephanie Hegarty and Poonam Taneja
  • World Service, BBC

picture released, AFP

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Refugees board a bus at the Polish border

Indian and African students spoke of facing discrimination and other hardships when trying to flee Ukraine. Foreigners of color told the BBC of being refused permission to board trains and being detained, while Ukrainians are allowed through first.

Tens of thousands of international students travel to Ukraine every year, most of them studying medicine and engineering. Some of them have faced extreme difficulties crossing the border to return home, while others are still stuck in Ukrainian cities since the start of the Russian offensive.

Asya is a medical student from Somalia studying in Kyiv. Two days ago, I posted a video on Twitter with the start of the air assault on the city. She managed to escape with some of her friends, but was unprepared for the long trip to Poland, and spent three days without food or sleep before she reached the Medica border crossing on Sunday.

Asya says the Africans were denied crossing for six hours, even though buses carrying Ukrainian women and their children were allowed to pass. “Finally we managed to cross, and then they told us that hotel rooms are only available to Ukrainians,” she says. Asia flew to Warsaw to find a place to stay.