What you need to know:
- Some that Daily Monitor spoke to by press time were still at the western border with Poland with thousands of refugees waiting to be cleared through as Russian troops continued to bombard several towns.
Ugandans trapped in restive Ukraine have asked the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to immediately draw up a rescue plan for them.
Some that Daily Monitor spoke to by press time were still at the western border with Poland with thousands of refugees waiting to be cleared through as Russian troops continued to bombard several towns.
“Are we going to be helped or you guys are waiting for the number of dead Ugandans in Ukraine?” one Ugandan still trapped in Kiev said.
Asked why he is not fleeing, like everyone else, he responded: “Do you have children? If you have two infant children then you know why it is not easy.”
Uganda’s embassy in the Russian capital, Moscow, which also oversees Moldova, Georgia, and Ukraine last Friday issued an advisory for Ugandans inside the conflict-laden Eastern European country to check in with the embassy .
Diplomatic sources at the embassy told last evening said that as of Tuesday, only 12 Ugandans had checked in with the embassy. One had managed to cross to Poland, and nine had crossed to Hungary via the western border. Two Ugandans reported themselves still inside Ukraine. Poland and Hungary, both former Soviet Republics, are overseen by Uganda’s embassy in Berlin, Germany. One diplomat at the mission told this newspaper that they were yet to receive any instruction from headquarters in Kampala.
In Kiev, one Ugandan couple narrated the anxiety to move “with their infant children’’. The couple, this newspaper talked to last Thursday, had planned to escape to Poland at the weekend but decided against the idea amid disturbing reports of mistreatment of Africans.
ALSO READ: Countries sending arms and aid to Ukraine
“They were blocking every black from getting on the train or dragging those inside outside so we decided to hold on a little longer. But the fighting seems getting closer and heavier by the day,” the husband narrated. “With children, sleeping out in the freezing cold and with the chaos around, fleeing seemed like not the best idea at the moment.”
While the embassy in Moscow says it does not have a proper count of Ugandans in Ukraine, the Ugandans say they are about 100, including students. Most of those who reported to have escaped to the neighbouring countries designated themselves as students.
Following international outrage and protest by the African Union about mistreatment of Africans, Polish authorities started allowing in African refugees yesterday. Some African governments including Tanzania and Ghana managed to repatriate some of their citizens. The Ugandans, however, told of one Tanzanian and Rwandan nationals who were killed at the weekend.
DON'T MISS: Moscow says 498 Russian troops killed in Ukraine
Another Ugandan who escaped to Kyiv yesterday from Ukraine’s second-largest city, Kharkiv, where heavy fighting was reported, said Russian troops told them to leave. Kharkiv, a largely Russian-speaking city near the Russian border, is one of the two main targets for Russian forces.
Speaking from the Polish border, one Ugandan student, who had just been cleared through, urged the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to endeavour to reach to them.
“It is a panicky situation. We are stressed, and we really need help,” the student, who preferred anonymity, said. “It is not enough for the embassy to issue advisories and tell those who we left behind to listen to the news.”
According to newswires, Ukrainians continued to defend their cities, as Russia’s invasion entered its seventh day.
In Kampala, Parliament on Tuesday tasked the Foreign Affairs ministry to present a detailed evacuation plan for all Ugandans trapped in the war-stricken country by today. The directive came after Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo demanded that the executive tables a detailed report over the matter.
The fighting, since Russia troops launched an all-out invasion of its former Soviet territory by sea, land and air last Thursday, has displaced an estimated 677,000 people, according to the United Nations. Queues on the Polish border are now tens of kilometres long with some African students saying they have been waiting for days to cross amid freezing temperatures with no food or shelter, Al Jazeera reported yesterday.