The African students represent various countries, including Morocco, Nigeria, Ghana and Egypt. Many of them are studying medicine, engineering and military affairs. The students went to Ukraine to find a cheaper alternative to studying in Western Europe or the United States. But they now find themselves in a war zone.
"In a situation like this, you're on your own. You've got to find the best way to find refuge for yourself," Ghanaian engineering student Percy Ohene-Yeboah told Reuters, speaking by phone from the basement of a church where he was hiding.
While some students are trying to find shelter, others are looking to flee. In Kyiv, where Russian bombs have been dropping on the city, a group of Kenyan medical students have been trying to leave. The Kenyan students rushed to Kyiv's train station on Friday, hoping to board a train to the western city of Lviv, then cross the border into Poland from where they can return home.
"It is really, really bad. Everyone is fleeing the city," said one of the medical students, who is not named.
The students said they only brought their documents and left everything else behind.
"We can't carry luggage. Luggage will make us lag behind," the unnamed student said.
Ohene-Yeboah, who has chosen to stay sheltered, said it's too late for him to try to escape.
"It's now that the reality is really hitting me," he said. "I think for me it's a bit too late for evacuation and all those things."
The number of African students in Ukraine amounts to more than 16,000, Reuters reports. Ghanaian students, which have established a union chapter in Ukraine, sent reports about the their current situation to their country's government. But the students said they haven't received help.
"They confirmed that they received things like that, but we never got any real reply to any of our concerns," Ohene-Yeboah said.
As Blavity previously reported, Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an attack on Ukraine on Thursday after denying for months that he would invade the country. Putin said his goal is to "demilitarize" Ukraine.