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60 Zimbabwean Students Seeking Help to Leave Ukraine Amid Fierce Russian Military Operation

A damaged vehicle and debris following Russian shelling outside outside Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022. Russia has launched a barrage of air and missile strikes on Ukraine early Thursday. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

More than 60 Zimbabwean students living in Ukraine have appealed for help in evacuating them following a nationwide military operation in the country by Russians.

Vincent Siziba, who is a student in Vinnytsia, about 263 kilometers south-west of the capital Kyiv, said most students want to leave the country as soon as possible.

“We want to leave this place and go to Poland where we will figure out what to do next. Our government has not yet contacted us. We are seeing messages on social media that the government wants us to go to get in touch with Embassy staff in Berlin. We need help right now,” said Siziba.

He said there were almost 300 students on social media groups created by Zimbabweans in Ukraine, which they were using to reach each other.

“There are a lot of Zimbabweans here in Vinnytsia who want to leave. The roads are now packed with vehicles right and with all the scary messages of bombings we are getting, indications are that there is war in this country. It’s difficult to get to Poland using planes because the airspace is now restricted and travelling by road is also dangerous. We don’t know what to do next. I believe that there are more than 300 students in our social media groups here in Ukraine.”

Another student Phillimon Chizororo, a five-year medical student at Vinnytsia National Medical University, said many Zimbabwean and other foreigners want to return home.

“A lot of students are thinking of going back to their respective countries but as for me I’m just waiting. If the situation gets serious then I might go but as for right now I will be still around. I have plenty of food but the problem is that some banks are closed so my parents won’t be able to send me money that will reach me in time. That’s the only problem.”

He said the Zimbabwean government has advised all students to go to Poland if the security situation deteriorates in Ukraine.

“We will just have to find transport to go to Poland and then from Poland we can buy tickets so that we can fly to Zimbabwe.”

In a Twitter message, Zimbabwe’s information ministry said students should contact Embassy staff in Berlin if they want to leave Ukraine.

Russian security forces started bombarding Ukraine early Thursday with indications that they were launching missiles targeted at military installations and other strategic places.

President Vladmir Putin claims that the Ukrainian government has been committing genocide in a region controlled by rebels since 2014.

President Volodymyr Zelensky has denied any wrongdoing.

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