Thousands of African students are stuck in Ukraine, trying to flee amid the assault by Russian forces, Reuters reported.
Some have been prohibited from boarding trains west from Kyiv; others report racist treatment at the border with Poland.
A group of students at Lviv train station in the west told France 24 that Ukrainian border guards prevented them from entering Poland.
“They stopped us at the border and told us that Blacks were not allowed,” said a student from Guinea who had fled his university in Kharkiv. “But we could see white people going through.”
After walking for hours in the bitter cold, he was also turned back from the Polish frontier village of Medyka.
Using the hashtag #AfricansinUkraine, African students have taken to Twitter to document their treatment, posting photos and videos that seem to show whites receiving preferential treatment at train stations and border crossings.
During an Instagram livestream over the weekend, one medical student said there had been “a lot of segregation and racism,” Newsweek reported.
“It seems there is a hierarchy of Ukrainians first, Indians second, Africans last,” the student said.
Ukraine draws tens of thousands of African students looking to study medicine, engineering and other fields at a lower cost than in the U.S. or Western Europe. With flights suspended, African governments, caught off guard by Russia’s invasion, have been little help in getting their nationals out of Ukraine.
“In a situation like this, you're on your own,” one Ghanaian engineering student told Reuters. “You've got to find the best way to find refuge for yourself.”