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'Fingers crossed' Irish student Racheal Diyaolu on way to Polish border after Ukraine rescue mission

This morning, Ms Diyaolu and a group of students were collected by two Scottish men who drove them out of the city.

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Racheal Diyaolu

Racheal Diyaolu

Racheal Diyaolu

Carlow student Racheal Diyaolu is currently travelling by car to the Polish border after an evacuation attempt to get her out of Ukraine failed over the weekend.

The teenage medical student had been trapped in the university city Sumy, which has been heavily bombarded by Russian forces recently.

This morning, Ms Diyaolu and a group of students were collected by two Scottish men who drove them out of the city.

Her sister Christiana said they contacted the men who are called “Gary and Joe” through their TikTok page “ready2rocklandscaping” and the men agreed to take Rachel and her friends out of Sumy.

Joseph McCarthy has been posting regular video updates on their social media page of their efforts to take people out of the war torn country.

“They attempted to do it yesterday and unfortunately on their way to Sumy they met some Russian soldiers who were not very happy with their travel, and they fired at them and basically halted the entire mission,” Christiana Diyaolu told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme.

“Lucky they were able to find an alternative route into Sumy and stayed there overnight and then continue there mission this morning.”

Christiana confirmed that that convoy carrying her sister is heading towards the western city Lviv, which is almost 1,000 kilometres away.

Speaking on the same programme, Rachel Diyaolu said the journey takes 17 hours normally, but they expect it will take at least 20 hours given the current circumstances.

She said fighting in Sumy worsened in recent days and she was forced leave behind many friends and most of her belongings.

“I’m fine, just trying to stay in high spirits that we’ll make it to Poland,” she said.

“It hasn’t been possible for me to even attempt to leave in the last week or so. There have been no avenues that I knew of that would safely get me out of the city and into a border. This is my second attempt at moving in the last two days.”

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Her sister Christiana added that her family are very relieved that Rachel is finally leaving Sumy and they will meet her in Poland if necessary and then bring her home to Carlow.

“We’re so, so happy, and just hoping for the best - fingers crossed.

“We’re willing to even head to Poland once we know she’s there and bring her home.”

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