A mission to rescue an Irish medical student in Ukraine has collapsed after volunteers were fired upon by the Russian military.
Acheal Diyaolu, 19, from Carlow is currently in the northeastern city of Sumy, which is reportedly surrounded by enemy forces.
The city has suffered power outages due to bombings, while some hostels have also been left without heating and water.
Two Scottish volunteers were to enter the city early in the morning to rescue Racheal, two other students and a Ukrainian family.
The men are landscape gardeners by trade but have traveled across the war-torn country rescuing people from conflict zones and bringing them to safety.
However, their vehicle was reportedly fired upon by Russian forces as they tried to get to Sumy.
A Tiktok account that provides updates on the failed mission said they were “ambushed” by the Russian military and had their front tires shot off.
It added that one of the men had their phone confiscated before they were forced to return to safety.
A recent update said they were safe and locals were helping them get new tires. It is not yet known if they will try to re-enter Sumy.
Racheal Dyaolu’s sister, Christiana, said they went “from hope to hopelessness in minutes” after the mission “backfired” when the volunteers were about 80km from town.
“Sumy is proving to be a terrible place to get to. It is said to be surrounded by Russian military. I don’t know how much more devastation we can endure. Please humanitarian ceasefire/corridor for evacuation should extend to Sumy. These students need help,” she wrote on Twitter.
“I wouldn’t wish this nightmare on my worst enemy, honest to God. There are still hundreds of students trapped in Sumy, three of them (Irish). It’s been 10 days… no improvements?” added Christiana Diyaolu.
The family have also repeatedly asked for more help from the Irish government to help their sister.
Racheal Diyaolu traveled to Ukraine in November to begin medical studies at Sumy State University.
Hundreds of other international students are also currently stranded in the city, which is around 50 kilometers from the Russian border.
Racheal previously described how the city suffered from power outages due to bombing raids, while poor network coverage made it difficult to contact her family back home.
“All we have heard so far is that there are talks of possibly opening a humanitarian corridor to allow international students to leave the country,” she had told the Irish Independent.
“We’re holding onto the hope that that actually happens because there are just so many people here who just want to get out and go back to their respective countries.”
https://www.independent.ie/news/mission-to-rescue-irish-student-racheal-diyaolu-19-from-ukraine-fails-after-volunteers-are-fired-upon-by-russian-military-41417311.html Mission to rescue Irish student Racheal Diyaolu, 19, from Ukraine fails after volunteers are fired upon by Russian military