Some Zimbabwean students at Vinniytsia in Ukraine say they are now “stuck” in that country after they were told by university authorities to shelter in place following the deteriorating security situation in the country.
The students say some colleagues have left the campus and are on their way to Poland where they are expected to buy air tickets and return home.
Laison Kyle Moyo, a fourth-year medical student at Vinniytsia National Medical University, told VOA Zimbabwe Service that local authorities have urged them to seek shelter due to fierce fighting between Russian and Ukranian security forces.
“We have received information that we must stay here in Vinnytsia where the situation has been calm all along. We are worried about what’s going on. We haven’t seen any shellings or bombings but people are really worried about what’s going to happen.
“Some students are also on their way to Poland but are stuck at the border due to traffic jams at the border post. We hope the situation will improve and the students will leave for Poland.”
Some Zimbabweans living in Berlin have teamed up to help stranded students in Berlin through providing transport from various parts of the country.
Faith Chikomari, who is based in Germany, said, “Yesterday we tried to contact the (Zimbabwe) Embassy after we heard about the news in Ukraine and how we were doing to help our people. We were told that there is nothing much we can offer them and the only thing they can offer them is a flight ticket to Zimbabwe. I’m wondering how you can tell a 20 year-old to find his or her way to Poland when they are already panicking. So, what we have come up with is to organize something as citizens. It’s not an organization or any political agenda. It is just citizens in Germany who have decided to come together to see how best we can help our people.
“My mobile number is already on Twitter. We have given it to people that will need help from us. They can call us so we can see how best we can help them. We managed to help some of them yesterday and we are waiting to hear from them if they have crossed over to Poland.”
She said they are hoping to help all Zimbabweans currently stuck in Ukraine where banks have been closed and transport operators are facing challenges in getting money for ferrying people.
Indications are that more than 60 Zimbabwean students are in Poland doing different studies in various universities nationwide.
Some of them claim that the Zimbabwean government is playing a critical role in ensuring that all of them are safe and those in need of help are assisted in going to Poland enroute home.
The Zimbabwean government has promised to assist students in purchasing air tickets for a one-way ticket to Zimbabwe, which costs at least US$2,000 from Poland.
At the same time, most of them believe that they may end up losing several years of education as they might now return to Ukraine if Russia topples the current government.