Stranded Zimbabweans: We’re Being Forced to Join Ukrainian Army

Ukrainian Army


The Ukranian government is still to comment on reports that Zimbabweans are facing coercion to join the Ukrainian army, creating a dire situation for individuals seeking refuge. According to four Zimbabweans interviewed by ZimEye, they find themselves at a dead end with limited options.

A representative of the affected individuals revealed, “Temporary residency permits for six of us were abruptly canceled.

The Foreign Affairs department conveyed that assistance is contingent on intervention from our home country.

Although third nationals now require regular visas, obtaining them has proven elusive. Our appeals in court for necessary documents were met with denials.”

Efforts by the Zimbabwean embassies in Sweden and Germany to communicate with their Ukrainian counterparts have yielded no results.

The situation is exacerbated by the subtle pressure faced by individuals, as one source stated, “They don’t openly tell you to join the military, but they leave you stranded, making it feel like the only option.”

It is reported that Ukrainian authorities are impeding people from leaving the country.

This marks a departure from the support provided during the initial stages of the 2022 war when the Zimbabwean embassy and the Russian army assisted departing individuals.

The Ukrainian government faces scrutiny over alleged abuses against African migrants, prompting calls for intervention from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

This incident is part of a series of accusations pointing to potential breaches of international law by Ukrainian authorities.

Financial constraints have added to the ordeal, with one individual revealing, “We have used up all our money while trying to leave.” Some have faced detention on immigration grounds, specifically due to the proximity of expiration dates on their status papers.

The difficulties extend to seeking help from international organizations. One source shared, “Last time we went to a UN-related organization, and they directed us to the Hungarian authorities to issue papers. But how can we approach the Hungarians when Ukraine is supposed to provide assistance?”

As the situation intensifies, urgent calls for international intervention are being made to address the plight of Zimbabweans in Ukraine, emphasizing the need for a prompt resolution to ensure the safety and rights of those affected.

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