Ukraine: Hundreds of International Medical Students Trapped in City Of Sumy

Ukrainian flag

As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine, many international students have managed to leave Ukraine and enter neighboring countries, however there is also a number of students who still remain in the conflict zone.

Over 800 medical students, mostly international students, are trapped in Sumy, a city located in northeast Ukraine, about 40 km from the Russian border, reports.

The majority of these students come from Africa and India and pursue studies at the Sumy State University. As The Guardian reports, most students come from Nigeria, and others from Turkey, India, Ireland, Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Angola, Rwanda, and Lebanon.

Following the advice of their universities to stay behind, international students are staying in five hostel buildings while many Ukrainian students have already left the country.

Stranded international students are asking for help, saying they are experiencing fear and anxiety.

“I am a student in Sumy, Ukraine. YES WE EXIST!!! There are 700-800 students in Sumy. It’s the 7th day of attack and there is no confirmed news on our evacuation. Stress, fear and anxiety are getting to us. Hope is lost. Pls help,” student Radhika Sangwan posted on Twitter.

Meanwhile, Oluwaseun Adefemi, a medical student from Nigeria, told The Guardian about the unsafe environment in Sumy, saying that every time they hear blasts, they run to the basement, while they are also running out of food and water.

“We expected that the school would give us the best information. They told us to stay in our hostel, to stock and buy food that we’d need for the days ahead. If we’d have known we’d have gone to neighbouring cities – but now we are stuck,” Oluwaseun Adefemi told The Guardian.

International students attempting to leave Ukraine amid the war have also reported racist treatment at the border, saying that border officials are prioritizing Ukrainian nationals.

“My body was numb from the cold and we haven’t slept in about 4 days now. Ukrainians have been prioritized over Africans — men and women — at every point. There’s no need for us to ask why. We know why. I just want to get home,” Rachel Onyegbule, a medical student from Nigeria, told CNN.

Before the conflict began, there were thousands of international students in Ukraine. According to data by the government, more than 76,000 international students were studying in Ukraine during 2020, with the majority of them coming from Nigeria, Morocco, and Egypt.

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