With men fighting in Ukraine, women and children flee alone

With men fighting in Ukraine, women and children flee alone

Nearly all of the hundreds of refugees who gathered on the school grounds in a village in eastern Hungary were women and children who left their husbands, fathers, brothers and sons behind to fight resistance to the deadly Russian invasion of Ukraine.

I have brothers, they are fighting now, said 34-year-old Olga Sklyarova, a resident of Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.

Men are not allowed to cross the border, so they helped us reach the border and went back to Kyiv to fight.

According to the United Nations refugee agency, war refugees in Ukraine are increasing rapidly in the eastern countries of the European Union, with more than 675,000 people fleeing to neighboring countries since the start of the Russian invasion, which will only increase.

At this rate, the situation is poised to become Europe’s biggest refugee crisis in this century, said Shabiya Mantu, a spokeswoman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

An order by Ukraine’s government prohibits men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country to keep them available for military enlistment, meaning many women and children must seek protection on their own. .

Irina Yarimchuk, an accountant from the western Ukrainian city of Kalush, made a five-hour journey early Tuesday with her 14-year-old son and 1-year-old daughter to the Hungarian village of Tiszabeks.

Through tears, she said that her brother had joined the Ukrainian army, and she was “very concerned about his life.

I love you so much Keep yourself strong. We will win, and we will see you soon, I hope, he said in an emotional message to his brother, who is stationed near Ukraine’s border with Belarus.

Yarimchuk, who plans to stay with relatives in Prague, locked his family in a bomb shelter from their home after a missile hit the nearby Ivano-Frankivsk airport as the Russian offensive began on Thursday. Spent days and nights to do as the air raid sirens sounded every few hours. ,

From that day on… we’ve been outside our house every evening, she said of the five scary nights before leaving. I was afraid for my children.

Sklyarova explained that whenever she took shelter in her Kyiv apartment building basement, she kept a full bag of clothing and emergency supplies she had brought with her.

It’s a bad, bad feeling,” she said. “Scary, tension, shock. Every hour in the night we would get up to run in the basement. We got up and went to sleep wearing clothes to run.

In Poland too, a large number of Ukrainian women were arriving with their children as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s forces intensified their attacks on civilian targets in a campaign that was turning deadly for children.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky told the European Parliament on Tuesday that the Russian military had killed 16 children a day earlier as he appealed to EU leaders to accept Ukraine into the bloc.

The escapees included Oksana Sereduk, who arrived in Medyka, Poland, by car on Tuesday morning with her two daughters and grandchildren. Her daughter Mariana would drive the car, sometimes feeding her 16-month-old baby on her lap.

I fear for most of the kids, Sereduk said.

Maria Lisika took her two children and fled when shelling began in Lutsk, western Ukraine.

I will do everything for my children, she said. I didn’t want to take them away, I wanted them to be at home, but what can be done? I want his psyche to be normal. The most important thing is children. I don’t care about the rest.

At a bus station in Ukraine’s western city of Lviv, Pavlo Bilodid wipes away his tears as he says goodbye to his wife and 2-year-old daughter, Maria, who helped them board a bus to Poland.

Fueled by emotion during a journey to the safety of three generations of female members of his family, he told the Associated Press that he had fled to Kyiv after fighting there.

Sorry, he said, taking some time to prepare himself. It’s terrifying, because it was so unpredictable and no one prepared for this situation, and we believe we’ll see them soon. I am sure we will see them soon.

Bilodid, 33, and his father were left behind. We are living here and we have to volunteer and we will do what we can here in Lviv, and if we need to, we will go to Kyiv to fight, he said.

Ukrainian singer Jamala, who won the 2016 Eurovision contest with a song about the 1944 deportation of Crimean Tatars by Joseph Stalin, was also among those fleeing Ukraine with her two children.

Jamala, a Crimean Tatar who fled to Turkey, told reporters in Istanbul that she never thought she would share the same fate as her grandmother, whom she was told to pack during her 1944 forced exile It was only 15 minutes.

The singer said she left Kyiv for Ternopil in western Ukraine, where she thought her family would be safe, but decided to move to Romania when she woke up to the sound of explosions there as well. Her husband stayed in Ukraine.

Back in Hungary, many of the women and children at Tiszabeks’ school were expected to reach destinations in the Czech Republic and Poland, but difficulties arose in arranging transport from a remote village on the Ukrainian border.

Our biggest shortage in recent times has been transportation, said Lajos R├ívez of Hungarian Baptist Aid, which runs the school’s reception centre.

Volunteers from several countries in the region have started arriving at Tizabex to bring newly arrived refugees to the European Union.

Ivan Mursha, a native of Khast in western Ukraine, who lives in Brno, Czech Republic, drove for more than seven hours to offer a free ride to anyone willing to join him.

We are all Ukrainians. Mursha said, we should unite and help each other.

Before departing for Brno in Mursha’s 12-passenger van, Sklyarova said her cousin’s 15-year-old son was shot by Russian forces on Monday riding in a car in Brovry, on the outskirts of Kyiv. He said the boy survived.

When asked what he expected to find upon his return to Kyiv, he simply said: ruins.

I think someone has to stop” Putin, she said. “I think there must be at least one person in the world who can stop this madness. he is ill.”

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