After bombing Arab students, Russia accuses Ukraine of using them as 'human shields'

After bombing Arab students, Russia accuses Ukraine of using them as 'human shields'
At least two foreign students died last week in Russia's bombing of Ukrainian cities. Thousands more remain stranded in Ukraine.
2 min read
06 March, 2022
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov accused Ukraine of using Arabs and other foreign nationals as human shields. [SERGEI ILNITSKY/POOL/AFP via Getty]

Russia has accused Ukraine on Thursday of preventing Arabs, Indians and Africans from leaving its territory in order to use them as human shields against the Russian invasion, the Indian daily Economic Times reported on Friday.

The allegations were made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov as he made statements to foreign media in Moscow on Thursday, in the wake of a call between Indian president Narendra Modi and Russian president Vladimir Putin to discuss the death of an Indian student in Ukraine.

"We have not received any reports of any hostage situation regarding any student," the spokesperson of the Indian Foreign Affairs ministry Arindam Bagchi stated on Friday, countering Russian claims that the students were being used as human shields.

"We have requested support of the Ukrainian authorities in arranging special trains for taking out students from Kharkiv and neighbouring areas to the western part of the country," Bagchi added.

The Indian student and at least one other Algerian student were killed last week by Russian bombing in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv.

Many families of other foreign students in Ukraine also said they received distressing news of their relatives stuck in various Ukrainian cities under Russian bombing.

Arab, Asian and African states have been struggling to repatriate their nationals, including many students drawn to Ukraine by attractive tuition fees and the low cost of life.

Around 10,000 Arab students were living in Ukraine when Russia unilaterally invaded on February 24. Pakistan also said 1,500 of its nationals, including 500 students are stuck in Ukraine.

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Ukrainians were granted immediate temporary protection in the European Union and warmly received at the borders, but many Africans living in Ukraine reported facing discrimination and racism at the border with Poland as they sought to flee the country by their own means.