Indian and African students reveal they were left helpless at the border town of Sheyhni, which is 16 kilometers away from Przemysi, the town of Poland, as the border forces would prioritise Ukrainian nationals to pass the border.
According to Rachel Onyegbule, a Nigerian medical student in Lviv, police forces told students they had to walk, as more than ten buses had already left with loads of Ukrainian reports nationals, SchengenVisaInfo.com.
“My body was numb from the cold, and we haven’t slept in about four days now. Ukrainians have been prioritised over Africans — men and women — at every point. There’s no need for us to ask why. We know why. I just want to get home,” Onyegbule told CNN.
However, Onyegbule isn’t the only student to complain about not being allowed to pass the border. Saakshi Ijantkar, a medical student from India, said they don’t allow Indians to go through checkpoints.
“They allow 30 Indians only after 500 Ukrainians get in. To get to this border, you need to walk four to five kilometers from the first checkpoint to the second one. Ukrainians are given taxis and buses to travel; all other nationalities have to walk. They were very racist to Indians and other nationalities,” the 22-year-old said for CNN, after pointing out that there were three checkpoints and lots of people were stranded there.
In addition, she confirmed of seeing guards being violent to the students waiting at the Ukrainian side of the border while also revealing that Indian men and other non-Ukrainian nationalities were left in long queues for hours, while also telling that she saw an Egyptian man who got pushed hard, hit the fence and lost consciousness, just because he was standing at the front with his hands on the rails.
Moreover, Ijantkar said that it is difficult to wait for passing the border, as the queues can be a day-long and the conditions are unbearable, as many people shake in the cold, collapse due to hypothermia or even get frostbite and blisters due to freezing temperatures.
Furthermore, Nneka Abigail, a 23-year-old medical student from Nigeria, also confirmed that law and order forces are being racist at the border.
“They tell us that Ukrainian citizens have to pass first while telling foreigners to stay back. The Ukrainian officials are allowing more Ukrainians to cross into Poland. For instance, around 200 to 300 Ukrainians can cross, and then only ten foreigners or five will be allowed to cross, and the duration of time is too long. It’s really hard. They push us, kick us, insult us,” Abigail said, pointing out that Nigerians and other foreigners are going through difficult times.
Ukraine is a preferred study destination for several nationals, especially Indian and African nationals, as the educational institutions have a good reputation and affordable tuition costs.