Two women react after crossing the Polish border, as they flee violence in Ukraine, in Medyka, Poland, February 24, 2022. REUTERS/Bryan Woolston
MEDYKA (Poland) – 24 February 2022: Ukrainians fleding a Russian invasion are now arriving in Poland. Several hundred arrived at the Medyka crossing, where they were accompanied by their children and luggage.
Officials from the European Union bordering Ukraine (including Romania and Slovakia) said that there is no significant influx of refugees at present, however local media reports and witnesses claim that foot traffic has been increasing.
Alexander Bazhanov fled eastern Ukraine along with his young son and wife. He took what he could and made their way to Poland by walking.
When he heard that war was starting from Donetsk’s colleague, the Mariupol-based technical manager decided to make his way across into Poland at age 34.
Bazhanov, who was crossing the pedestrian border about 400 km away from Warsaw said that “I don’t have any emotions other than that I’m very scared.” “I am going to Spain to visit my father, but I do not have the money nor know how I’ll get there.”
After President Vladimir Putin authorized what he called an “exceptional military operation” in the east, Russian troops invaded Ukraine via land and air on Thursday.
For weeks, Central European countries that border Ukraine have been preparing themselves for an expected flood.
People who travel for work or shopping at the border use the Medyka crossing a lot.
In the early morning, lines to cross into Poland grew. People said that they were afraid Russia might push into Ukraine.
Maria Palys (44) said, “Everybody believed that western Ukraine would be safe since it was near the EU and NATO countries.” She was traveling with her family, and also her brother. “It doesn’t seem like it provides the best protection.”
Russia demands an end to NATO’s eastward expansion, while Putin reiterates his view that Ukrainian membership in the U.S. military alliance is unacceptable.
Putin claimed that he authorized military action when Russia was left without a choice and had to defend itself against threats from the modern Ukraine. This democratic country of 44 million citizens is Putin’s home.
Olga Pavlusik, her boyfriend Bohdan Begey and their dog left their home in the town of western Ukraine after hearing about the invading force. They don’t know where they are going. She told Reuters that “Anywhere safe is fine.”