African refugees ‘stopped from fleeing’ Ukraine amid allegations of racist treatment
Father-of-three Osarumen, a Nigerian national living in Ukraine, said his family were told ‘no black people’ after defying the driver and military officers before being ejected from the bus
Image: Bruno Thévenin/SIPA/REX/Shutterstock)
African refugees would be prevented from fleeing Ukraine in the face of increasingly shocking racist treatment.
As Russia continues to fire missiles at cities across the country, black people say they have been left to languish after being abandoned.
A father-of-three said he and his family were ordered off a bus on Saturday before it crossed the border leaving Ukraine.
Osarumen, a Nigerian national living in Ukraine, said his family were told “no black people” after they defied the driver and military officers before being ejected from the bus.
He said: “In all my years as an activist, I have never seen anything like it.
“When I look into the eyes of those who turn us down, I see bloodshot racism, they want to save themselves and they lose their humanity in the process.
“I can’t imagine a scenario where white Ukrainians would ever be denied asylum, so the way they treat us is unjustified. It’s baseless. We’re all escaping, so let’s get back to a common thread.”
Christian, 30, told The Independent he received a video call from his friend, Winston, at the Medyka border crossing, where he was told that Ukrainian soldiers were preventing hundreds of African and international citizens from entering Poland.
He said, “No English, no Polish, no blacks,” they told my friend. It’s about racism,” Christian said.
A number of Nigerian students and their family members have taken to social media to share their concerns over allegations of racial discrimination by the guards.
A social media post wrote: “Someone says he has a black friend in Ukraine who has been rejected twice, because twice she tried to cross the Polish border and was rejected. TWICE. He says that they actually say ‘white’ people first! Do you know how crazy that is?”
It comes as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) updated its estimate of the number of refugees who have left Ukraine, saying the total is more than 500,000, a figure that continues to increase.
UNHCR said the humanitarian needs are “multiplying and expanding by the hour”.
The agency said it was sending stocks of basic relief items to Moldova, including blankets, sleeping mats, family tents, wintering kits, sleeping bags, water jerrycans , baby kits, solar lamps and other items for at least 10,000 people.
“UNHCR has issued an urgent appeal for Ukraine to contribute to the relief efforts, as our relief work relies on donations and the needs on the ground are immense,” he said.
“All donations can be made through our UK charity partner – UK for UNHCR.
“We receive many calls from the UK public offering support and are extremely grateful to those who have already donated or been in touch with us here in the UK offering to host refugees in their homes.”