Africans and non-Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s attack on the country should be assisted equally, Ukraine’s foreign minister stated Wednesday.
“Africans seeking evacuation are our friends and need to have equal opportunities to return to their home countries safely,” Dmytro Kuleba tweeted Wednesday.
“Ukraine’s government spares no effort to solve the problem,” Kuleba wrote.
It’s the first time the Ukraine’s government has acknowledged the crisis on the border. Non-Ukranians, particularly from Africa, have been subjected to racism as they have tried to flee.
People trying to leave Ukraine for their home countries told CNN they have been segregated and denied transportation out of the country by officials at the border. Some have allegedly been beaten in racist attacks.
One Nigerian medical student, Rachel Onyegbule, told CNN that she and other foreigners were ordered off the public transit bus at a checkpoint between the Ukrainian and Polish border, adding that it then drove away with only Ukrainian nationals on board.
Saakshi Ijantkar, a fourth-year medical student from India, also shared her ordeal with CNN. She said she witnessed violence from the guards to the students waiting at the Ukrainian side of the Shehyni-Medyka border.
CNN contacted the Ukrainian army in light of the allegations of violence, but did not immediately hear back.
In a statement to CNN, Human Rights Watch said: “It is imperative that Ukrainian authorities issue crystal-clear guidance to all border posts that foreigners should not be singled out and hindered in their efforts to seek equal safety across the border. All civilians leaving the country should be treated humanely by authorities.”