Ukraine is still facing invasion from the Russian forces but more foreign students are affected by the crisis between these two countries. WITHIN NIGERIA’s Adesola Ikulajolu writes on certain things the Federal Government should note as to hasten the evacuation of Nigerian students from Sumy city in Ukraine.

The war between Ukraine and Russia seems not to be ending anytime soon. The crisis which has lasted more than two weeks has continued to cause panic among nations of the world as well as international students studying in Ukraine. Nigerian Students in Ukrainian city, Sumy are crying for help to be evacuated.

A video monitored by WITHIN NIGERIA surfaced online where Nigerian students in Sumy city in Ukraine are calling for help, lamenting that they no longer have access to basic amenities. Reports have it that water is no longer available at the hostels which has made some students resort to scooping snow.

…Nigerian Students In Sumy

There are currently over 400 Nigerian students in Sumy. With this number, Nigerians are the second largest group of international students behind India- the country with the highest numbers of international students in Sumy, Ukraine.

Many of the Nigerian students are those who are on scholarships as well as those whose parents could afford traveling out of Nigeria to get better education. However, there are other international students from Rwanda, Ghana, Jordan and others in Ukrainian’s Sumy. Currently as the crisis between Ukraine and Russia gets tougher, over 500 international students have been reportedly trapped in Sumy.

What To Know About Sumy

Sumy is a north-eastern city in Ukraine. The city is the capital of Sumy Oblast with a population estimate of 259,660 according to the 2021 estimation. The city houses the Sumy Airport and railway junction for the Southern Railways at Sumy railway station. This indicates that the city have high inflow and outflow of travelers.

According to a report available on Wikipedia, Sumy was founded in the 1650s by the Cossacks within the region of Sloboda Ukraine and from 1658 Sumy was a center of the Sumy Cossack Regiment (military unit and local administrative division).

Sumy is a major target for Russia due to the military strength in that city. The military department of Sumy State University is one of the strongest in Ukraine. This is however dangerous because the Russian army is set out to destroy the military settlement of the Ukrainian army.

When the Russian attack began in Ukraine on February 24, 2022, forces attacked Sumy.

There are two major routes that cross Sumy city- they are called H07, Kyiv–Yunakivka at the Russian border and H12, Sumy–Poltava. From 1959 till now there are over 79% of Ukrainians in Sumy and 20% of Russians while the others estimate 1% with majority of the residents being christians and jewish minority.

…Danger Of Staying In Sumy During War

Staying in Sumy is a dangerous decision at a time like this when the Russian invasion is hitting hard on Ukraine with bombing and attacks between the two forces. The Russian army were close to capturing Sumy at the the last attack on the city owing to its location close to the border, but the Ukrainian forces were able to launch a resistance attack.

There is also urban fighting which many refer to as ‘street fight’ as Russian forces continue to engage Ukrainian forces.

On the wake of February 24, 2022, a church was burned down in Sumy. This explained the fact that other places of gatherings will be targeted in subsequent attacks.

Moreso, the strong military department in Sumy State University is a home to the “Ukrainian 27th Artillery Brigade”. It means that in the quest of Russian forces to render Ukrainian military forces powerless and defenseless, more attacks will be launched in Sumy which will lead to deaths and injuries of many.

Another ‘street fight’ broke out in Sumy where Russian forces gained enough dominance over the Ukrainians where they took over half of the city. In a resistant fight, Ukrainian forces regained its territory, having destroyed fuel trucks belonging to Russia.

Buildings are being bombed and gunshots are fired into the city making many to flee their home while others find safety under the bunker. Many roads and bridges connecting Sumy to other parts of Ukraine have been destroyed and over 500 foreign students are now trapped.

The stores and markets in Sumy are gradually closing-up which is a threat and call for hunger. Reports have also shown that students are drinking melted snow because there are no water in the city and no electricity.

With this, Sumy is no doubt a dangerous city for international students to stay, especially the Nigerians crying out to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

…What Is the Nigerian Government Doing?

The Nigerian Government have only announced on twitter that its students in Sumy will be evacuated but yet to see any actions taken int saving the young Nigerians.

The Nigerian minister of foreign affairs, Godfrey Onyeama said in his tweet that evacuation of the students will commence on Monday but as at the time of this report, WITHIN NIGERIA is yet to see the arrival of any Nigerian student evacuated from Sumy.

The tweet of Mr. Onyeama reads: “Deep gratitude to @DmytroKuleba, Foreign Minister of Ukraine for approval given, as promised, to establish a humanitarian corridor and authorize evacuation of Nigerian students from Sumy starting tomorrow.”

While the Nigerian students are awaiting help from Nigeria, the foreign minister said there is a challenge of transporting the students from Sumy.

“The big challenge is procuring buses. We are doing everything to make it happen. Great commitment by Nigerian Ambassador to Ukraine, Shina Alege.”

While the Ukraine-Russia crisis continues, all eyes are on the Nigerian Government to evacuate its students crying for help in Sumy.