South Africa’s ambassador to Ukraine says he had to leave the capital, Kyiv, as an armoured Russian convoy is heading to the city.
Andre Groenewald said explosions could be heard in the distance as he packed the car to leave on Wednesday morning.
He is now travelling south in a convoy of two vehicles with his wife, three children and the last remaining embassy staff towards Romania, Moldova or Hungary.
According to him, colleagues and other ambassadors had been working hard to secure a smooth exit of South Africans and other foreigners from Ukraine – some of whom have faced racism at they have tried to flee.
“We’ve heard all of these accusations, we’ve seen the videos and we are concerned… We’ve protested ourselves on an official level to the government and asked them to please help the students that are still coming through,” he added.
South Africa’s ambassadors in both Poland and Hungary had also gone to the borders to help people get through, he said.
Part of the problem was that “initially, only Ukrainian women and children” were being allowed through – and as officials from Ukraine were sticking strictly to these instructions, this had impacted all the foreigners.
“It’s just been a very terrible situation.”
He condemned the discrimination, adding that bombs don’t discriminate.
There have been a series of reports on how Africans who are trying to flee Ukraine are being discriminated against due to their race. ECOWAS and AU have both condemned the situation and have called on the Ukrainian government to desist from the act.