The nightmare continues as Russian military forces continue to wreak havoc on Ukrainians. According to reports from the UN, 406 civilians have been killed in Ukraine since Russia’s invasion began on February 24. As millions attempt to flee, reports of African residents being blocked from fleeing the warzone are mounting.
Axios reported the more than 1.5 million people who have fled Ukraine since Russia's invasion is Alexander Somto Orah, a 25-year-old Nigerian student who told Axios he witnessed three separate incidents of racial discrimination against evacuees by Ukrainian authorities during the long journey from Kyiv to Warsaw. At the Ukraine-Poland border, white and nonwhite people were separated by a barricade, Orah said. Authorities allowed the white group to move quickly and in large numbers, while mostly ignoring people of color. An attack on refugees of color who came from Ukraine by Polish white supremacists last week, first reported by the newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza (Polish), could heighten fears about how refugees of color will be treated.
The Philadephia Inquirer reported “Only Ukrainians. That’s all. If you are Black, you should walk.” That’s what an official told an African woman in Ukraine who was trying to get on a bus to Poland as Russian troops invaded the nation late last month. Jessica Orakpo, who’s from Nigeria, shared her experience in a video, which was posted on social media by civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump on Friday with the words, “Officials have to do MORE to ensure that all Ukrainian residents receive an equal chance to leave!”
Ukraine Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba tweeted the following in response to racism claims, "Russia's invasion of Ukraine has affected Ukrainians and non-citizens in many devastating ways. Africans seeking evacuation are our friends and need to have equal opportunities to return to their home countries safely. Ukraine's government spares no effort to solve the problem."