- Some of the South African students who were in Ukraine at the time of Russia's invasion have landed in South Africa
- The students describe the hardships they had to deal with when attempting to flee the country that is currently under siege
- One student Mandisa says she experienced aggression from the Ukrainian police as they made tried to make their way to the Polish border
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JOHANNESBURG - Two South African students who found themselves in the crossfire of Russia's invasion of Ukraine have finally returned home.
Last week Thursday, 28 February, Russian troops marched into multiple cities in Ukraine under the guise of "demilitarising" Ukraine. Many people began to scramble for safety into neighbouring countries such as Poland and Romania.
On Friday morning, 4 March, students landed at OR Tambo International airport and were met with happy parents who were glad to see their children return home safely, according to SABC News.
Ukrainian Ambassador says African students trying to flee Ukraine did not experience racism, South Africans disagree
One student named Nkateko spoke to reporters upon his arrival and stated that the journey to return home took five to six days, however, he is really happy to be home.
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"It's been a five or six-day trip, minimum sleep. I feel quite overwhelmed but I am really glad to be home. We didn't think we would be home," said Nkateko.
He explains that they were in multiple trains and even witnessed bombs going off. He added that they were stuck at borders and were even sleeping on floors under freezing conditions and at times without anything to eat.
Another student named Mandisa describe the horrible experience they went through. She stated that in addition to fighting for their lives they had to fight other people and in some cases, people were still food. Mandisa even added that they were also experienced racism at the border.
Nkateko and Mandisa thanked the people of Hungary and stated they were well-taken care of when they arrived in the country.
Two other students also detailed the same experience when they tried to flee Ukraine for Poland. Thembeka Mthombeni says the journey to Poland was terrible and they experienced a lot of police brutality and racism from the Ukrainian police, according to EWN.
But the journey was really crazy; we experienced a lot of police brutality, racism. It was really a horrible experience,” Mthobeni said.
Ukrainian ambassador says African students trying to flee Ukraine did not experience racism
Briefly News previously reported that Liubov Abravitova, the Ukrainian ambassador to South Africa, has disputed accusations that African students and immigrants attempting to leave Ukraine were mistreated.
In a joint media briefing with the United States of America Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Todd Haskell on Thursday 3 March, Abravitova says they were roughly 16 000 African students in Ukraine at the time of the invasion by Russia.
Abravitova said she had spoken to South Africans attempting to flee the country and inquired about racial discrimination. This was apparently refuted by the students she had engaged with, reports TimesLIVE.
Source: Briefly News