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Outrage As Jamaican Students Fall Ill After Being Forced to Walk From Ukraine to Poland

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Two Jamaican students have fallen ill after being forced to embark on a 20-kilometer journey from L’viv, Ukraine, to Poland—on foot.

According to The Jamaican Gleaner, twenty-four students were forced to walk to Poland after the bus transporting them to the Polish border was blocked by protestors.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith announced that one of the students received medical care in an ambulance. On Thursday, the foreign affairs and trade ministry reported that 27 students were still in the country while 15 had already fled.

Ukrainian residents are fleeing in the thousands after Russia invaded the country last week. Social media were shocked to see images of African residents being blocked from boarding trains feeling Ukraine, to make space for their white counterparts to escape to safety first.

President Vladimir Putin summoned Russian nuclear deterrent forces to be put on alert Sunday in response to what he called “aggressive statements” by NATO leaders, sparking fear of a looming nuclear war.

On Thursday, the Jamaican government shot down claims that it had abandoned citizens studying in Ukraine.

Robert Morgan, minister without portfolio in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for information, offered assurances to the country during a media briefing.

Morgan announced that seven Jamaican students were scheduled to leave Ukraine on Tuesday, with two scheduled to fly out Thursday.

“We can also confirm that we have tried to facilitate as much as possible, the interest of the students in the Ukraine but we have also faced challenges,” said Morgan. “While our staff, and the foreign service, have been making efforts, the reality is that we have not been able to contact all of them. We have reached out [and] while some have responded, some have not.

He added, “The public should remember that at the last [post-Cabinet] briefing we mentioned that the students would be able to transit through Germany without the need for a Schengen visa if they are transiting within a 24-hour period.”

Prime Minister Andrew Holness condemned the attacks:

“Jamaica is consistent in its support for the universal respect and adherence to the principles of international law the respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all nations.” He continued, “We, therefore, cannot support, and in fact, we condemn the invasion of Ukraine.”

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