Three Oxford students travelled to Ukraine a day before war broke out

They wanted to make a documentary

Three first year undergraduate students at the University of Oxford travelled to Ukraine a day before war broke out, to film a documentary and “show solidarity” with Ukrainian people.

The students travelled to the capital city of Ukraine, Kyiv, on Wednesday afternoon this week. Less than 24 hours later, the country was invaded by Russian troops – with attacks by land and air. Explosions were reported all across the country, including Kiev where they were staying.

The students – who go to St John’s, Trinity, and Christ Church – allege that “the trip was really about filming [a] mini-documentary, and showing solidarity with the Ukrainian people”.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Office gave official government guidance advising against travel to Ukraine, stating that Brits who were there should “leave now” via commercial routes while they were still available.

One of the students told The Oxford Student: “it’s true we did travel against the advice of the government, and we take full responsibility for that. But we have followed their second advice which was registering your presence in Ukraine if you decide to stay”.

One of the students in a – now deleted – tweet said, “looking back at it, it may not have been the wisest decision”.

The student added an update onto his tweet saying they had managed to escape the capital city and were on their way to Romania.

Another thread said: “yesterday we met with Ukrainian people for the documentary”, which was one focused “on conflict resolution and self-determination”.

There was plenty of backlash on Twitter aimed at the students, labelling them “insensitive” and “entitled”.

One user said, “Why would anyone go on ‘holiday’ to a war zone? Ignoring the FCO and using up resources during the time of crisis?  The level of privilege and insensitivity is truly something.”

However, one of the students said: “the trip was already planned for days. We did not use a single evacuation service or in anyway take another person’s place”.

The students have now escaped Ukraine and arrived safely in Romania. They told The Oxford Student: “some of the backlash was quite abusive and does not help anyone. Every time I tried to concentrate on our plans, I get a notification of a new insult.

“There’s people who’ve been checking up on us and are lifting our spirits up. Those people are absolute angels and I honestly have so much love for them. I’m truly thankful that they’re in my life.”

Featured image before edits: Unsplash

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