The Nigerian students caught in the Russia-Ukraine war | Russia-Ukraine crisis News

Lolade Lawal’s life has been turned the other way up in a approach she by no means imagined.

The third-year medical scholar from Nigeria is coming to phrases with the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began final week.

“It’s scary, very scary. I’m very frightened. Persons are operating for his or her lives. We’re hiding in teams so we are able to regulate one another,” Lawal informed Al Jazeera over the cellphone as she sheltered with different college students at a secure bunker within the northeastern metropolis of Sumy.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered what he stated was a “particular army operation” in opposition to Ukraine on Thursday. A full-scale invasion adopted, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declaring martial legislation, saying his nation would defend itself.

On Saturday, preventing reached the streets of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv as Russian troops pressed forward.

In line with the US army, Russia now has at the very least 50 p.c of its estimated 150,000-strong invasion forces in Ukraine.

The battle has to date killed greater than 200 civilians, together with three youngsters. Practically 1,100 have been injured within the battle, together with 33 youngsters, in line with Ukraine’s well being ministry.

The United Nations estimates greater than 100,000 folks have been displaced throughout the nation because the battle began.

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“There’s no escape. Trains have stopped working. Most supermarkets are closed and people which can be opened are operating very low on meals shares. ATMs usually are not working and everyone seems to be desperately on the lookout for cash,” Lawal stated, as sirens went off within the background.

There are not any official figures on the variety of African college students at present finding out in Ukraine however Lawal stated “there are a whole lot of us in our metropolis”.

“At my college, there are about 100 Nigerian college students. I’m sheltering with a few of them,” Lawal added.

Some college students have managed to cross the border into Poland.

“I dwell in Kyiv. I’ve been residing right here since March final 12 months,” Somto Orah, a scholar at State College of Telecommunications in Kyiv, informed Al Jazeera.

“We have now obtained no assist from any authorities authorities. The college solely gave us bomb shelter to cover when the air raid siren is on. The sirens got here on and off for about 5 instances yesterday earlier than I left,” Orah, a Nigerian nationwide, added.

“There may be little meals. I couldn’t entry money for 2 days now. Each ATM on the highway has no money.”

Others have had even much less luck.

Samuel George, a first-year software program engineering scholar, fled Kyiv after the shelling and sirens bought an excessive amount of for him to deal with.

“I drove from Kyiv. We are attempting to outlive. We don’t need to die out of the country,” George stated.

As he neared the Polish border, Samuel’s luck ran out. He stated he had a minor highway accident with a car carrying Ukrainians as a result of the highway was slim.

He stated they took his cash and stopped him from driving any additional.

“They aren’t officers, police or army. They’re regular residents who stopped us Africans from driving to the border. They let Ukrainians move by way of however not us,” George stated.

“I’m now strolling to the border. I’ve no different possibility. I don’t know the way a lot additional the border is. They even took our cash. It’s like they aren’t human beings,” George stated, including that he may not discuss on the cellphone as a result of his palms had been freezing within the sub-zero temperature.

On Saturday, the Polish Ministry of Inside Affairs stated greater than 115,000 folks had crossed into Poland from Ukraine, including that everybody from Ukraine was allowed to enter, even these with no legitimate passport.

However for Somto and a number of other different college students, crossing the border into Poland has not been simple.

“I shall be heading to Nigeria from Poland if I’m in a position to cross. But when I see a college provide round Schengen, I’ll take it up as a result of I don’t need my faculty life to be disrupted,” he stated as he joined the queue on the border gate.

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