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Black in Ukraine: Unequal Treatment While Fleeing War

Black people in Ukraine have faced unequal treatment in their search for safety. Into America shares one student’s harrowing escape. Plus, a conversation about the history of Blackness in this part of the world.

About this episode:

As Russian forces advanced from the east during the war in Ukraine, they faced unexpectedly fierce opposition from the Ukrainian military and civilian population. And as fighting intensified, many in its path fled west.

But as people fled, not everyone was the given the same opportunity to seek refuge. In the middle of a war zone anti-Black racism reared its ugly head, with reports of people from the African diaspora facing racist treatment at the Ukrainian border. In the eastern city of Sumy, home to a large contingent of international students, Black folks were beaten off of trains and buses fleeing the violence to make way for white Ukrainian citizens.

This week on Into America, we speak with Eniola Oladiti, a Black medical student from Ireland, who fled Sumy while that city was under siege. And host Trymaine Lee speaks with Kimberly St. Julian Varnon, an expert on race in the former Soviet Union, about the unique experience of being Black in this part of the world.

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Find the transcript here.

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