Nigerian students in Ukraine say they have been abandoned by their home country, even as other governments are working on plans to evacuate their citizens following Russia’s invasion.
Students told CNN that they are stranded in Lviv, Ukraine, with no way to legally leave, saying they were essentially told by Nigeria: “You’re on your own.” One medical student, Anjola-Oluwa Ero-Phillips, told the network that about 70 Nigerian students were trapped in Ukraine as Russian forces have moved into the Eastern European nation.
Abike Dabiri, a member of the Nigerian Diaspora Commission, told CNN that Nigeria’s foreign ministry would announce evacuation plans for citizens still stranded in Ukraine, but wouldn’t give a timeline. Dabiri also gave CNN Nigeria’s updated travel guidance telling Nigerian students to “remain calm but be very vigilant and be responsible for their personal security and safety.”
The students are stranded in Lviv, on the western side of Ukraine some 300 miles from the country’s capital of Kyiv, where Russian forces have begun attacking.
“There have not been explosions here but earlier in the day we heard the siren tests. Flights are cancelled and it’s hard to get any taxis or Uber,” Ero-Phillips told CNN, adding that “Everybody is at the ATM trying to withdraw cash but banks are not opening. Money is running out at the ATM and you can’t do app transactions anymore.”
“Based on what I have heard from the Indian citizens, their government is trying to get free transit for them to the Polish border,” the medical student added.
Ero-Phillips also told CNN that “No one has any idea what to do. We have been reaching out to the Nigerian embassy since last month.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, residents in Lviv sought shelter underground when Russia began its invasion into eastern parts of the country.
Lviv Deputy Mayor Andriy Moskalenko told CNN that Ukraine’s west side isn’t taking Russia’s threat lightly.
“In Lviv, we had this morning sirens. And so it was a sign for people to move to underground places. It was a potential threat,” Moskalenko told the network. He also said there had been no explosions so far.
CNN further reported that Lviv residents formed lines at banks and ATMs to withdraw money in order to be prepared if Russia travels to their side of the country. Moskalenko also told the network that school has been moved online to allow students to stay at home, but other than that, the city is operating as usual.
“Right now, the city works as usual. We have water supply, heat supply, we have transport and banks and other institutions at work. We, together with state security service, the administration, with police, manage our work. So we have come to headquarters to provide services for our residents,” Moskalenko said.
Lviv’s response comes after Russia began a full-scale invasion into Ukraine Thursday morning. As The Daily Wire reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced in a speech early Thursday morning that a “special military operation” was beginning to demilitarize Ukraine. Putin also called on Ukrainian soldiers to put down their weapons and go home. Further, Putin appeared to threaten NATO, the U.S., and anyone else who may come to Ukraine’s aid.
“A couple of words for those who would be tempted to intervene, Russia will respond immediately and you will have consequences that you never have had before in your history,” Putin said.
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