Family of Irish student in Ukraine describe hopelessness after failed rescue mission 3 months ago

Family of Irish student in Ukraine describe hopelessness after failed rescue mission

"From hopefulness to hopelessness in a matter of minutes."

UPDATE: It's understood that a second rescue mission is currently underway.

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The family of Rachael Diyaolu, a young Carlow medical student stuck in Ukraine, have expressed their feelings of "hopelessness" after a mission intended to rescue her appeared to have failed.

The 19-year-old is in the city of Sumy in northeastern Ukraine where she had been studying medicine. Two British volunteers were due to collect Rachael and other students yesterday, but they had to abandon the mission after Russian troops shot at their van.

It's understood that the volunteers made it out safely.

She told RTÉ News: "Unfortunately, about 80km from Sumy, the men were stopped by the Russian army, who issued warning shots and told them they had to return. So they could not progress with their journey.

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"That was quite unfortunate and heart-breaking for us here, as all we want to do is return home. But at the same time we are just grateful that the men are safe and made it out alive."

Rachael then issued a plea to the Irish Government to help with the evacuation mission. She is among 1,700 international students who have been unable to leave Ukraine amid the Russian invasion.

She said: "All we want to do is return home to our families and potentially continue our studies. I'm still trying to find ways to leave, still trying to find the safest options. We are just hanging in there and hoping for the best."

Her sister, Christiana took to Twitter to describe her sister's situation as a "nightmare".

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She wrote: "From hopefulness to hopelessness in a matter of minutes. I wouldn't wish this nightmare on my worst enemy, honest to God."

Over the weekend, Russia's defence ministry said that there would be a ceasefire in a number of Ukrainian cities, but Ukrainian officials have said that the ceasefire is "unlikely", as Russian troops continue to attack.