Racism at the border: People of color reportedly being stopped from leaving Ukraine
Another issue plaguing the people of Ukraine is racism at the border. People of color are reportedly being stopped from fleeing the country during the Russian invasion.
Janez Lenarcic, the European commissioner for Crisis Management, denied the claims on Thursday, before being called out about it by a reporter, who says she was able to corroborate the reports.
The hashtag #AfricansInUkraine now has thousands of posts across all social media platforms and is exposing the mistreatment of Africans and other people of color at Ukraine’s borders.
A video obtained by News 12 New Jersey appears to show members of the Ukrainian military pointing guns at students who are shouting that they are unarmed and have been waiting at the border for three days.
#AfricansInUkraine has gotten the attention of the international community, as well as the attention of those in the United States. Oladapo Somoye is the president of the United Nigeria Association of New Jersey. He calls what he's seen in the videos “disturbing.”
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“This day in age, Black people in general, not just Nigerians, are still going through what’s going on out there. Even in the middle of a war,” Somoye says.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted in part, “Africans seeking evacuation are our friends and need to have equal opportunities to return to their home countries safely.”
“When it boils down to it, the country is in a war and individuals need to be able to get to safety and that should be something that is done regardless of race or citizenship,” says Dr. Wendy Osefo, of John Hopkins University.
Osefo is a public affairs academic and says because of social media, we're able to see the plight of Black and brown people in Ukraine in real-time.
“We cannot pass this off as something that is made up,” she says. “We can hold Russia accountable and also hold Ukraine accountable at the same time.”
The United Nigeria Association of New Jersey says it has a meeting on Sunday, and the main topic of discussion will be how it can help those stuck at the border.