Racism claims emerge as Ukrainian refugees throng Poland border

People arrive at the border crossing between Poland and Ukraine, after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine, in Medyka, Poland, February 25, 2022. [Reuters]

People of colour residing in Ukraine have aired out racism experiences as they try to flee from Ukraine into Poland to seek refuge.

This was after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military operation in Ukraine, with explosions heard across the country as Ukraine’s foreign minister warned of a “full-scale invasion”.

Black people who could communicate to the world via mainstream and social media narrated their ordeals and the alleged mistreatment by Ukrainian soldiers in favour of the white Ukrainian citizens.

Stephanie Hegharty, BBC journalist took to her official Twitter on Saturday evening, at about 7:30 pm, to share some racism claims from students she had interviewed.

She shared the story of a Nigerian medical student, Medyka-Shehyni, who waited in the queue for about 7 hours to cross the border to Poland.

Poland and Ukraine, the second and third largest Slavic countries respectively, share a border of about 529 km.

“She says border guards are stopping black people and sending them to the back of the queue, saying they have to let 'Ukrainians' through first,” Stephanie tweeted.

People queueing to cross the border from Poland to Ukraine after Russia launched a massive military operation against Ukraine. [Reuters]

Another black medical student in Ukraine also took to her verified Twitter account to share her ordeal fleeing from Dnipro to Poland.

Dnipro is a city on the Dnieper River in central Ukraine.

“So we are on our way to Poland from Dnipro, Ukraine by car - this is a thread of everything I see, hear and experience,” her thread on Twitter read in part.

According to her series of Tweets, it took her more than 36 hours to cover 960Km to Lviv, which is normally covered in 13 hours by road.

Upon reaching Lviv she met other black women who had travelled by train and they shared a room before they decided to move to Romania.

“The girls travelled to Lviv via train from Dnipro and they are saying it was a nightmare getting on the train. They are saying they felt some segregation between how Ukrainians were treated compared to the few black people on the train,” her series of tweets read.

As of Saturday night, around 100,000 people had crossed into Poland from Ukraine since Russia launched an invasion on Thursday.

“Some 9,000 entered since 7 a.m. on Saturday,” Poland's Deputy Interior Minister Pawel Szefernaker told a news conference.

"Since 7 a.m. the Ukrainian side has closed part of the lanes for cars and allowed pedestrian traffic. The queue on the Ukrainian side should decrease," Szefernaker told reporters.