Lolade Lawal’s life has been turned the wrong way up in a means she by no means imagined.
The third-year medical pupil 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 fearful. Individuals are operating for his or her lives. We’re hiding in teams so we are able to keep watch over one another,” Lawal advised 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 navy operation” towards Ukraine on Thursday. A full-scale invasion adopted, with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy declaring martial regulation, saying his nation would defend itself.
On Saturday, combating reached the streets of Ukraine’s capital Kyiv as Russian troops pressed forward.
In keeping with the US navy, Russia now has at the least 50 % of its estimated 150,000-strong invasion forces in Ukraine.
The battle has thus far killed greater than 200 civilians, together with three kids. Almost 1,100 have been injured within the battle, together with 33 kids, in keeping with Ukraine’s well being ministry.
The United Nations estimates greater than 100,000 folks have been displaced inside the nation because the battle began.
“There’s no escape. Trains have stopped working. Most supermarkets are closed and people which are opened are operating very low on meals shares. ATMs should not working and everyone seems to be desperately searching for cash,” Lawal stated, as sirens went off within the background.
There aren’t any official figures on the variety of African college students presently learning 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 dwelling right here since March final yr,” Somto Orah, a pupil at State College of Telecommunications in Kyiv, advised Al Jazeera.
“We’ve obtained no assist from any authorities authorities. The varsity solely gave us bomb shelter to cover when the air raid siren is on. The sirens got here on and off for about 5 occasions 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 pupil, fled Kyiv after the shelling and sirens received an excessive amount of for him to deal with.
“I drove from Kyiv. We are attempting to outlive. We don’t need to die in another country,” George stated.
As he neared the Polish border, Samuel’s luck ran out. He stated he had a minor highway accident with a automobile carrying Ukrainians as a result of the highway was slender.
He stated they took his cash and stopped him from driving any additional.
“They don’t seem to be officers, police or navy. They’re regular residents who stopped us Africans from driving to the border. They let Ukrainians move by however not us,” George stated.
“I’m now strolling to the border. I’ve no different choice. I don’t understand how a lot additional the border is. They even took our cash. It’s like they don’t seem to be human beings,” George stated, including that he may now not speak on the cellphone as a result of his palms had been freezing within the sub-zero temperature.
On Saturday, the Polish Ministry of Inner Affairs stated greater than 115,000 folks had crossed into Poland from Ukraine, including that everybody from Ukraine was allowed to enter, even these and not using a legitimate passport.
However for Somto and a number of other different college students, crossing the border into Poland has not been straightforward.
“I might be heading to Nigeria from Poland if I’m in a position to cross. But when I see a faculty supply round Schengen, I’ll take it up as a result of I don’t need my college life to be disrupted,” he stated as he joined the queue on the border gate.