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Irish medical student travelling across Ukraine after being picked up by Scottish rescuers

Racheal Diyaolu has left Sumy, near the Russian border, and is travelling towards Poland.

Image: Racheal Diyaolu

AN IRISH MEDICAL student trapped in a city in northeastern Ukraine is now attempting to leave by travelling across the country.

19-year-old Racheal Diyaolu from Carlow had been staying at her student accommodation in Sumy, 50 kilometres from the Russian border.

She is now travelling across Ukraine to Poland, along with others, after being picked up by two Scottish volunteers who are attempting to get people out of the country.

The daring rescue attempt appeared to have failed over the weekend after the volunteers encountered hostile Russian soldiers on their way to collect people stranded in Sumy.

However, the mission has now resumed and Racheal is travelling westwards towards the Polish border, a journey that will likely take at least 17 hours.

Last week Racheal told The Journal that life in Sumy had been stripped back to monitoring the military situation, keeping in communication with family and routine trips to her building’s bunker.

This morning she said conditions in the city had deteriorated in recent days but she was staying in high spirits and positive that they will make it to Poland.

“Conditions were worsening over the past few days and I have left behind a lot of friends who are still stuck there. They’re looking for ways to get out. [I've left] most of my belongings as well,” Racheal told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme.

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Racheal’s sister Christiana said the family are very happy that she has left Sumy and are hoping for the best as she travels across Ukraine.

The rescuers, Joseph McCarthy and Gary Taylor, are landscape gardeners from Scotland who travelled to Ukraine in the immediate aftermath of Russia’s invasion.

They have already managed to transport several stranded civilians to Romania and Poland.

In videos posted on TikTok today the men detailed how they arrived in Sumy with the help of Ukrainians after Russian soldiers opened fire on their van and punctured the vehicle’s tires. 

About the author:

Céimin Burke

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