UNHCR 'concerned' at Ukraine border racial profiling reports

STORY: The U.N.'s refugee agency has said it has spoken to countries bordering Ukraine after reports that African citizens fleeing conflict were being denied access.

Thousands of Africans and other foreign nationals, particularly students, have been scrambling to leave Ukraine following Russia's invasion.

Several videos and testimonies have circulated on social media, complaining of discrimination at border posts and train stations.

Buchizya Mseteka is a South Africa-based spokesperson for UNHCR.

“UNHCR is aware and is very concerned about reports of racial profiling - we’ve received many of these. We are following up and where possible made interventions."

Mseteka said there were reports - which the agency has not verified - of Africans being stopped from boarding trains that are taking people to neighboring countries and of other being denied access to cross borders.

"Our position at UNHCR is that irrespective of nationality and race people seeking protection should be allowed to seek safety and to leave the country."

The African Union has also said it was "disturbed" by reports about the treatment of Africans fleeing what Russia calls a "special operation".

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs said in a tweet that Africans seeking evacuation need to have equal opportunities and that his country would help.

The Chancellery of the Prime Minister of Poland said on Twitter that Poland provides shelter to everybody who is fleeing Russian aggression against Ukraine "regardless of their nationality and ethnicity".