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By Marizka Coetzer


Ukraine ambassador in SA denies racism allegations against foreigners

Ukrainian ambassador to South Africa Liubov Abravitova said: “I’m not accepting the voices that are saying Ukraine is a racist country.

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Conflicting reports about alleged racism against foreigners at the Ukraine border are brewing, while tension continues to rise as more attacks are reported.

Ukraine’s ministry of foreign affairs called on the governments of India, Pakistan, China and other counties whose students are becoming hostages of the Russian aggression in Kharkiv and Sumy to demand that Moscow opens a humanitarian corridor to other Ukrainian cities.

“There are students … who cannot leave because of the indiscriminate shelling and barbaric missile strikes by the Russian armed forces on residential areas and civilian infrastructure,” the ministry said.

Attempting to arrange evacuations through cities being subjected to Russian bombing and missile strikes was extremely dangerous.

Ukrainian ambassador to South Africa Liubov Abravitova said: “I’m not accepting the voices that are saying Ukraine is a racist country.

“If you check all the social media, we see students who are still in Ukraine in cities that are under attack called their governments to help them, and they say, listen we are here, we are black people and we don’t experience any racism, just help us.”

Abravitova said people had started to flee to the borders.

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“Elder people, women, children and students, the borders were not ready for that, nor was the embassies of those countries that stay by Ukraine.

“The European Union border will request special permits and documents to ensure these citizens will be treated well, which caused a lot of issues,” she said.

Abravitova said volunteer organisations were at the borders with translators to accompany foreigners through the border. Ukrainian Olha Zaporozhets said news outlets had made fake allegations about her country; there was no discrimination in Ukraine.

“They said black students can’t go [on trains] because they are black. White people also can’t [go on trains] because [there is] no free space there. It’s not because of skin colour. Zaporozhets works on cruise ships and was visiting Ukraine on holiday when the war erupted.

“All my family is here in the south of Ukraine, Kherson city and Beryslav town. I’m currently in Beryslav with my grandparents,” she told The Citizen.

The city where her parents were hiding had run out of food after the mall was hit by a Russian rocket.

“The nearest town to us is under Russian Nazi flags, people have no escape from there. Everyone that tries to escape, [is] killed by the Russian army. They killed a family with three little kids and old people,” she claimed.

The only thing they could do now, was to hide. Ukrainian tour guide, Oleksandra Fedorenko who was hiding in a bomb shelter, said she had counted 15 air raid alerts on Wednesday in Chernihiv.

Department of international relations and cooperation spokesperson Clayson Monyela said 64 South Africans had been registered in Ukraine.


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