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World News

'I think it is a sad reflection on humanity' - Ethnic minority groups facing challenges fleeing Ukraine conflict

by Alex Collett

It's reported one million people have now fled Ukraine since the Russians invaded the country, the United Nations says. 

However, there are concerns black people are experiencing racism when attempting to flee the country.

Witnesses claim many are being turned away from trains in favour of white people.

Mike Royal is the general secretary of Churches Together in England.

He told Premier Christian Radio that, even in the middle of a crisis, there should be no room for this sort of behaviour. He said: "We have people from the African continent, from the Caribbean, from South Asia, and from other parts of the world who live, work and study in Ukraine. 

"Many people studied in Ukraine, because it's just much cheaper to get a good education there then it would be perhaps in a Western country.

"Also it would be easier to get a visa I think, so that's the background, because I think sometimes people say, what are black and brown people doing there? 

"BBC Breakfast interviewed an unfortunate young man called Gabriel, who had to walk 12 miles, because he was not allowed to get on a train, like other people fleeing the conflict, as Russia seeks to invade Ukraine. 

"I think, for me, it's fair to say that everyone in that context is suffering. 

"Everyone who is not going to stay in fight wants to get out. 

"I think the key issue for me is that people need to be treated equally.

"I think it's a sad reflection on humanity, when even in a war crisis, a crisis of conflict like that, that people have got time to be racist."

Mike spoke about how the problem goes further and has spread to other ethinic minority groups trying to flee the country. He said: "There has been a failure of all different countries, not just African or Asian countries in getting people out. 

"I think that the challenge is that it depends on what passport you have, as to whether that's going to be an easier or more difficult passage.

 I mean, I've been watching some of the challenges around people from India, who have also experienced mistreatment, and is a similar issue there."

Mike urges us a nation to pray for ethnic minority groups and the situation unfolding in Ukraine: "Prayer is important, and the reason why prayer is important is because it softens our hearts. 

"When we pray, God is able to speak to us about the situations that matter. 

"So prayer is an integral part of our heart response, but then we move from prayer to action and I think that the key thing is that these issues are being highlighted, but also that we connect." 

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