Russian university accused of pressure on African students to join the war – The Daily Beast

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Russian officials at the Southern Federal University (SFedU) in the city of Rostov-on-Don, near the border with Ukraine, have been pressuring African students at the institution to join Vladimir Putin’s forces in fighting in Ukraine’s Donbas region, three students at SFedU told The Daily Beast.

According to the students, in the last three months, the university’s officials have tried to persuade them into “accepting an offer from either the Russian army or the notorious Wagner Group, claiming both are willing to pay up to $3,000 and $5,000 respectively to foreigners willing to go to war in Ukraine.” The officials warned the students that the Russian government may “deny them certain privileges, including increasing tuition and canceling scholarships for some international students should they fail to take the offer.”

“There are three of them (officials at the school) who’ve been meeting us at our hostel and trying so hard to convince us to fight for Russia,” a student from Nigeria told The Daily Beast. “They said we can fight in Ukraine for a short time, make so much money and then return to Russia to continue our education. They have met so many African students and told them that.”

About 2,500 international students are enrolled in SFedU, the largest scientific and educational center in southern Russia, with two university campuses located in Rostov-on-Don and Taganrog. Many of these students come from Africa, where some governments partner with the Russian Federation to send students to Russia on scholarships, The Daily Beast says.

Editor’s Note

Before the Russian invasion in 2014, Luhansk and Donetsk were also international educational centers, many foreign students didn’t evacuate after the occupation started and later some of them ended up in Russian military formations fighting against Ukraine.

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