Ukrainians are our neighbors, almost our brotherstells us a Polish volunteer who came to the Dorohusk border post, three hours from Warsaw, to drop off medical equipment that will be delivered to the east.
Despite the cultural ties that unite Poland and Ukraine, what distinguishes the two countries can be seen in the border areas. In one of them, we write in the Latin alphabet, in the other in Cyrillic. On one side of customs we are in the European Union, not on the other.
Above all, the border that separates these two countries marks the boundary between peace and war.
Since Thursday, it is therefore with their Polish neighbors that tens of thousands of Ukrainians have come to find refuge.
Some cross on foot, others in their cars or buses. The passengers in these vehicles are overwhelmingly women and children, since under martial law men between the ages of 18 and 60 must remain in Ukraine to defend their country.
Tania’s father, who has not yet celebrated his 61st birthday, could not flee with her. His mother also decided to stay in Ukraine. It was therefore alone that the young woman got off the bus on Friday evening, after a perilous journey.
” It’s awful. I got on a bus without being able to hug my parents, knowing that they were going back to a bombed-out city. »
We saw dozens of tanks entering the city when we tried to leave she says about the 24-hour journey that allowed her to connect Kiev to Poland.
It’s what you see in WWII movies.adds Tania.
hours of waiting
Near the border post of Medyka, in the south of the country, a woman and her daughter finally set foot on Polish soil.
Coming from Lviv, a city only 85 kilometers away, they had to be patient. The two women explain that the border crossing stage alone took about twenty hours.kilometers on foot because there was no transport, the Ukrainians, the drivers said:\”there is a traffic jam there, there is no way to continue\””,”text”:”I walked almost 20 kilometers on foot because there was no transport, the Ukrainians, the drivers said:\”there is a traffic jam there, there is no way to continue\””}}”>I walked almost 20 kilometers on foot because there was no transport, the Ukrainians, the drivers said: “there is a traffic jam there, there is no way to continue”says Mehdi, a Congolese, who arrived in Kiev two years ago in the hope of finding
a better life.
These are images that I don’t know if I can forget themtestifies this man whom we meet at the station of Premyzi, about fifteen kilometers from the border.
The station where the rare trains that come from Kiev and Lviv still stop has become a reception center for refugees. Volunteers provide food, cell phone cards, and a few chairs or beds to rest on after a long trip.
I am in pain. It’s hard to talk. The people who are here come from hellsaid, tears in her eyes, Mira, a young Polish woman of Ukrainian origin who had come to distribute food.
It is here that Tatiana tries to organize her exile. She arrived in Poland with a few bags and a visibly nervous cat in her cage. His parents, originally from Kharkiv in eastern Ukraine, are still stranded in the country.
I send them money and I send money to the Ukrainian army. But I really want my mom to come so I came first to find a place to live so my family can come nextshe explains.
” I would never have thought that our neighbors and brothers could do such a thing. It makes me furious. »
While tens of thousands of Ukrainians have already found refuge in Poland, some have chosen to take the opposite route.
This is the case of Yuri, a man met at the Dorohusk border post just before he jumped on a bus heading east, and the war.
I’m going back to Ukraine because my area is bombed, my wife and child are hiding in a basementsays this Ukrainian who was working in Poland when the war broke out.
A few dozen meters away, on the opposite lane, Maria intends to engage in another type of battle, far from the front. Repeat to Western countries that Ukrainians need their support.
It is not just the story of one country being attacked by another. We are talking about democracy and people who want freedom and want to live in a free and prosperous country. Like everyoneshe says.