'Final stretch' Stranded Irish student Racheal Diyaolu's family hope she can reach Ukrainian border today
Ms Diyaolu was rescued along with her Nigerian friends, by two Scottish gardeners who drove them out of the city
Racheal Diyaolu’s family has confirmed that she has restarted her journey to the Ukrainian border and the 19-year-old hopes to cross into the EU later today.
The Carlow medical student left the university city Sumy with several others on Monday and has encountered numerous obstacles on her journey out of the war-torn country.
Ms Diyaolu was rescued along with her Nigerian friends Roycee Iloielunachi and Anolajuwon Solarin, by two Scottish gardeners who drove them out of the city.
Joe McCarthy (55) and Gary Taylor (45), who run Ready2Rock landscaping in Falkirk, volunteered to get the students out of Sumy and have been posting video updates on their TikTok page.
A video posted yesterday showed the damage caused to Mr McCarthy’s vehicle when it was targeted and shot at by Russian soldiers and a bullet went straight through the rim of one of the wheels.
Yesterday Racheal Diyaolu told The Sunday World that they were still trying to find a safe border crossing because a crossing point they had previously identified in Moldova was closed.
Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme, Ms Diyaolu's sister Christiana said Rachael texted her family earlier to let them know “they’re on their way”.
“I do believe that they’re making good progress,” she said.
“It’s been a long three days and we’re nearly at the end now. It’s just the final stretch and hopefully she’ll be past the border and back home to us soon.
“Some of the roads in Ukraine are not the smoothest, so they’ve experienced a lot of problems with their car, but it seems to be good today and hopefully the journey will be smooth, and they’ll make their way.”
The convoy carrying Racheal Diyaolu and others was slowed down by a number of Russian and Ukrainian checkpoints.
Christiana said the Ukrainian police have issued the group an official letter which she hopes can speed up the process.
“I believe the Ukrainian police have given them some kind of letter that will allow them to pass through checkpoints a lot easier which is amazing. Hopefully by the end of today that will have made the border.”
It has been a nervous fortnight for the entire Diyaolu family since the Russian invasion began, but Christiana said recent days have been easier.
“It was a lot worse last week and towards the beginning of the invasion but now that we know she’s on her way to safety… I’ve been able to sleep a lot better and a lot longer.
“Until she gets back, I don’t think I’ll have a proper full night’s sleep.”
She added that the family hopes once Racheal reaches the EU the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs can arrange transport “to help bring her home”.
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