19-year-old Irish medical student Racheal Diyaolu says the road out of Ukraine has been hard but “you have to do what you have to do to get out”.
Ms Diyaolu began her journey out of the north-eastern city of Sumy yesterday morning after Scottish rescuers finally reached her.
The evacuation attempt had appeared to fail after the rescuers were shot at by Russian soldiers around 80km from the city; however, they reached her via backroads and are now attempting to leave the country.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, she said their plans have changed numerous times since.
“There is a lot of back and forth about where we are going,” she said.
“Initially, we were going to the Polish border. Then we saw that, potentially, we could go to Moldova because there are many more people that need help in Odessa and that is closer to Moldova.
“However, the border we wanted to go to in Moldova is no longer open. It is temporarily closed. So, we are trying to re-route ourselves and find the best border we can get to.”
She said the plan is now to head back towards Poland.
“Our plan of action is actually to maybe try and get to a Polish border because that is where a lot of help is available,” she said.
“My sister has been talking to a lot of people there who can assist us, so we are just trying to figure out the best route at this point.”
She said the journey has been hard but it is a “relief to be out of the city”.
“The roads in Ukraine aren’t very good,” she said. “The majority of them, unless you are on the motorway, will have many potholes and many bumps so it is not the smoothest drive, but you know what, you have to do what you have to do to get out.”
There are more than 1,500 international students remaining in the city of Sumi with no official way to leave.