At least 51 Rwandans have been able to safely flee Ukraine following the ongoing conflict with Russia, 50 of whom safely arrived in Poland and one in Hungary. At least 35 Rwandans, mainly students, are still stuck in Ukraine, pending evacuation.
This was revealed by the Deputy Government Spokesperson, Alain Mukuralinda on Tuesday, while appearing on Rwanda Television (RTV), to brief the country on the situation of Rwandans caught in the conflict as fighting continues between the two neighbours.
“The good news so far we have not received any reports of a Rwandan national getting killed or injured in the fighting. So far the report we have shows that 51 Rwandans have already crossed the border safely and are no longer in Ukraine-50 of them to Poland and 1 to Hungary,”
“Our embassy in Poland has dispatched two people to the border to receive and facilitate Rwandans fleeing Ukraine. The challenge so far is that people are not arriving together but we are coordinating with other African embassies to facilitate any Rwandan who approaches them and direct them to our people,”
“As we speak, nine more people are waiting to cross. As expected, there is a big number of people wishing to exit. The journey is rigorous. There is a checkpoint established by Ukraine 50km from the border which is the first stop. From here they have to move again for the whole night,” Mukuralinda said.
He pointed out that the embassy is in contact with the nine individuals and is waiting to facilitate them once they arrive. He said that there are 15 other Rwandans who are in the areas the fighting is concentrated and cannot find an exit route.
Cynthia Kagambirwa, who has a brother stuck in Ukraine wrote an appeal to President Paul Kagame, asking him to intervene and come to the rescue of the Rwandan students still stuck in Ukraine in very difficult conditions, going days without food and having to walk long distances.
“I am writing to express my concern for the Rwandan students that are currently stuck in Ukraine. As someone whose brother is currently at the Polish border, I’m reaching out in desperation to ask if there’s any progress on the evacuation plan for the Rwandan students and citizens,”
“We have some students that are still stuck in Sumy with limited resources; no food and no means of transportation to get them to safety. Others have traveled 70km + from Lviv to the Medyka side of the Poland border by foot. These students are enduring discrimination and are not getting the help they desperately need. After spending days at the border unable to achieve safe passage, some even made the hard decision to go back to Lviv to seek warm shelters, food and means to communicate with their loved ones,”
“Your Excellency, I am reaching out in hopes that the Rwandan government will utilize the resources that they have at hand to help bring our fellow Rwandan citizens home. Any guiding information on the steps that are being taken to help secure their safety is truly appreciated. I am a graduate student in the state of Texas and I am here to help in any capacity that I can,” Kagambirwa wrote.
Your Excellency @PaulKagame pic.twitter.com/XjZVj7yvue
— Cynthia M Kag (@cynthia_kag) February 28, 2022
The Government Spokesperson, Yolande Makolo, in response, said the Government is equally concerned and was following up on their situation.
Hello Cynthia. GoR is very concerned about the Rwandans affected by the crisis & is working with our Embassies in Poland, Germany & Russia to coordinate their safe return. @RwandaMFA & our Ambassador in Warsaw are already in contact with & updating your family in Kigali.
— Yolande Makolo ?? (@YolandeMakolo) March 1, 2022
Africans have been left stranded between the border of Ukraine and Poland, with many claiming that they were denied the right to cross over to Poland by authorities. The African Union (AU) on Monday condemned the racist discrimination target Africans, pointing out that it is their international right to be allowed to cross the border to flee from war.