500,000+ refugees have fled Ukraine since Russia waged war

Ukrainian household reunites on the Medyka border crossing in Poland on Sunday. The U.N. has estimated the battle may produce as many as 4 million refugees, relying on how lengthy the invasion continues. (Visar Kryeziu, Related Press)

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BEREGSURANY, Hungary — The mass exodus of refugees from Ukraine to the jap fringe of the European Union confirmed no indicators of stopping Monday, with the U.N. estimating that greater than 500,000 folks have already escaped Russia’s burgeoning conflict in opposition to Ukraine.

Lengthy strains of automobiles and buses have been backed up at checkpoints on the borders of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Romania and non-EU member Moldova. Others crossed the borders on foot, dragging their possessions away from the conflict and into the safety of the EU.

A number of hundred refugees have been gathered at a brief reception heart within the Hungarian border village of Beregsurany awaiting transportation to transit hubs, the place they may very well be taken additional into Hungary and past.

Maria Pavlushko, 24, an data know-how challenge supervisor from Zhytomyr, a metropolis round 100 kilometers (60 miles) west of the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, stated she had been on a snowboarding vacation within the Carpathian mountains when she received phrase from dwelling final week that Russia’s invasion had begun.

“My granny referred to as me saying there’s conflict within the metropolis,” she stated.

Pavlushko plans to journey from Hungary to Poland, the place her mom lives. However her grandmother continues to be at dwelling in Zhytomyr, she stated, and her father stayed behind to affix the struggle in opposition to the invading Russian forces despatched in by Vladimir Putin.

“I’m proud about him,” she stated. “Numerous my mates, quite a lot of younger boys are going … to kill (the Russian troopers).”

A woman carries her child as she arrives at the Medyka border crossing after fleeing from the Ukraine, in Poland, Monday. The head of the United Nations refugee agency says more than a half a million people had fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on Thursday.
A girl carries her little one as she arrives on the Medyka border crossing after fleeing from the Ukraine, in Poland, Monday. The top of the United Nations refugee company says greater than a half one million folks had fled Ukraine since Russia’s invasion on Thursday. (Photograph: Visar Kryeziu, Related Press)

Most of the refugees on the reception heart in Beregsurany, as in different border areas in Japanese Europe, are from India, Nigeria and different African nations, and have been working or finding out in Ukraine when the conflict broke out.

Masroor Ahmed, a 22-year-old Indian medical pupil finding out in Ternopil in western Ukraine, got here with 18 different Indian college students to the Hungarian border. He stated they hoped to succeed in the capital of Budapest, the place India’s authorities has organized an evacuation flight for its residents.

Whereas Ternopil has not but skilled violence within the conflict, he stated: “It could be that there’s bombing subsequent hour, subsequent month or subsequent 12 months. We aren’t certain, that is why we left that metropolis.”

Hungary, in a turnaround from its long-standing opposition to immigration and refusal to just accept refugees from the Center East, Africa and Asia, has opened its borders to all refugees fleeing Ukraine, together with third-country nationals that may show Ukrainian residency.

As a part of an settlement with some international governments, Hungary has arrange a “humanitarian hall” to escort non-Ukrainian nationals from the border to airports within the metropolis of Debrecen and the capital, Budapest.

Priscillia Vawa Zira, a Nigerian medical pupil within the jap Ukrainian metropolis of Kharkiv, stated she fled towards Hungary because the Russian navy commenced an assault.

“The state of affairs was very horrible. You needed to run as a result of explosions right here and there each minute, run to the bunker,” she stated.


My granny referred to as me saying there’s conflict within the metropolis.

–Maria Pavlushko, Ukraine resident


U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi tweeted on Monday that greater than 500,000 refugees have now fled from Ukraine into neighboring nations.

Shabia Mantoo, a spokeswoman for the U.N. company, stated the most recent depend stood at roughly 281,000 in Poland, 84,500 in Hungary, 36,400 in Moldova, 32,500 in Romania and 30,000 in Slovakia.

The remainder have been scattered in unidentified different nations, she stated.

In Poland, the nation that has reported probably the most arrivals, trains continued to carry refugees into the border city of Przemysl on Monday. In winter coats to guard them in opposition to near-freezing temperatures, many carried small suitcases as they lined up on the platform to exit the station.

Polish U.N. Ambassador Krzysztof Szczerski, talking on the Common Meeting, stated that along with Ukrainians, these coming in Monday included folks of some 125 nationalities, together with Uzbeks, Nigerians, Indians, Moroccans, Pakistanis, Afghans, Iranians, Iraqis, Turks and Algerians.

Otoman Adel Abid, a pupil from Iraq, fled to Poland from the western metropolis of Lviv after he stated panic broke out amongst many within the metropolis.

“Everybody ran to purchase some meals and we heard bombs in all places,” he instructed The Related Press. “After that, we instantly packed our bag and garments and a few paperwork and we ran to the prepare station.”

Refugees fleeing conflict in Ukraine arrive at the Medyka border crossing in Poland, Sunday. The U.N. has estimated the conflict could produce as many as 4 million refugees, depending how long the invasion continues.
Refugees fleeing battle in Ukraine arrive on the Medyka border crossing in Poland, Sunday. The U.N. has estimated the battle may produce as many as 4 million refugees, relying how lengthy the invasion continues. (Photograph: Visar Kryeziu, Related Press)

Natalia Pivniuk, a younger Ukrainian girl from Lviv, described folks crowding and pushing to get on the prepare, which she stated was “very scary, and harmful bodily and harmful mentally.”

“Individuals are underneath stress … and when individuals are scared they develop into egoist and neglect about all the things,” she stated. “Individuals are traumatized as a result of they have been on that prepare.”

Most of these fleeing Ukraine have been coming into the EU from its jap flank, with some touring on to nations additional west.

Aksieniia Shtimmerman, 41, arrived along with her 4 kids in Berlin Monday morning after a three-day odyssey from Kyiv.

Sitting on a bench contained in the German capital’s primary prepare station, she tried to decipher a leaflet with directions and maps on find out how to attain a shelter for brand new arrivals within the north of the town.

As she tried to consolation her crying 3-year-old twin boys, Shtimmerman stated she had labored in telecommunications at a Kyiv college however was now solely searching for a spot the place she and her kids may eat, sleep and relaxation.

“I grabbed my youngsters on Friday morning at 7 a.m. to run away from the conflict,” Shtimmerman stated. “I am unable to even depend anymore what number of completely different trains we took till we arrived right here.”


The state of affairs was very horrible. You needed to run as a result of explosions right here and there each minute, run to the bunker.

–Priscillia Vawa Zira, a Nigerian medical pupil in Ukraine


Germany’s inside ministry stated Monday morning that 1,800 refugees from Ukraine had arrived up to now, however that the quantity was continuously rising as extra trains from Poland arrived.

Within the Romanian city of Siret, the EU commissioner for dwelling affairs, Ylva Johansson, visited a border crossing the place hundreds of refugees have been coming into from neighboring Ukraine.

Johansson, who visited among the humanitarian stations on the border, recommended the “heartwarming” cooperation between volunteers and the authorities, and stated that the EU is united “in a method we’ve by no means seen earlier than.”

She stated it was a “very tough time the place we see conflict in Europe once more, the place we see aggression, invasion from Putin in the direction of a sovereign, neighboring nation.”

Johansson, who will meet in a while Monday with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis and Prime Minister Nicolae Ciuca, stated that Europe is “exhibiting that we’re primarily based on different values than Putin.”

Contributing: Monika Scislowska, Stephen McGrath, Kirsten Grieshaber and Jamey Keaten

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Europe welcomes Ukrainian refugees — others, less so : NPR

African residents in Ukraine wait on the platform contained in the Lviv railway station on Sunday in Lviv in western Ukraine.

Bernat Armangue/AP


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African residents in Ukraine wait on the platform contained in the Lviv railway station on Sunday in Lviv in western Ukraine.

Bernat Armangue/AP

BARCELONA, Spain — They file into neighboring nations by the lots of of hundreds — refugees from Ukraine clutching youngsters in a single arm, belongings within the different. They usually’re being heartily welcomed, by leaders of nations like Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania.

However whereas the hospitality has been applauded, it has additionally highlighted stark variations in therapy given to migrants and refugees from the Center East and Africa, notably Syrians who got here in 2015. A number of the language from these leaders has been disturbing to them, and deeply hurtful.

“These are usually not the refugees we’re used to… these individuals are Europeans,” Bulgarian Prime Minister Kiril Petkov informed journalists earlier this week, of the Ukrainians. “These individuals are clever, they’re educated folks. … This isn’t the refugee wave we’ve been used to, folks we weren’t positive about their id, folks with unclear pasts, who might have been even terrorists…”

“In different phrases,” he added, “there may be not a single European nation now which is afraid of the present wave of refugees.”

Syrian journalist Okba Mohammad says that assertion “mixes racism and Islamophobia.”

Mohammad fled his hometown of Daraa in 2018. He now lives in Spain, and with different Syrian refugees based the primary bilingual journal in Arabic and Spanish. He stated he wasn’t shocked by the remarks from Petkov and others.

Mohammad described a way of déjà vu as he adopted occasions in Ukraine. Like hundreds of Ukrainians, he additionally needed to shelter underground to guard himself from Russian bombs. He additionally struggled to board an overcrowded bus to flee his city. He additionally was separated from his household on the border.

“A refugee is a refugee, whether or not European, African or Asian,” Mohammad stated.

On the subject of Ukraine, the change in tone of a few of Europe’s most excessive anti-migration leaders has been placing — from “We aren’t going to let anybody in” to “We’re letting everybody in.”

These feedback had been made solely three months aside by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Within the first, in December, he was addressing migrants and refugees from the Center East and Africa looking for to enter Europe by way of Hungary. Within the second, this week, he was addressing folks from Ukraine.

And it is not simply politicians. Some journalists are additionally being criticized for a way they’re reporting on and describing Ukrainian refugees. “These are affluent, middle-class folks,” an Al Jazeera English tv presenter stated. “These are usually not clearly refugees making an attempt to get away from areas within the Middles East… in North Africa. They seem like any European household that you’d reside subsequent door to.”

The channel issued an apology saying the feedback had been insensitive and irresponsible.

Refugees fleeing battle from Ukraine arrive at Zahony, Hungary on Sunday.

Anna Szilagyi/AP


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Refugees fleeing battle from Ukraine arrive at Zahony, Hungary on Sunday.

Anna Szilagyi/AP

CBS Information additionally apologized after one in all its correspondents stated the battle in Kyiv wasn’t “like Iraq or Afghanistan that has seen battle raging for many years. It is a comparatively civilized, comparatively European” metropolis.

When over one million folks crossed into Europe in 2015, assist for refugees fleeing wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan was a lot higher. After all, there have been additionally moments of hostility — akin to when a Hungarian camerawoman was filmed kicking and probably tripping migrants alongside the nation’s border with Serbia.

Nonetheless, again then, Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, famously stated “Wir schaffen das” or “We are able to do it,” and the Swedish prime minister urged residents to “open your hearts” to refugees.

Volunteers gathered on Greek seashores to rescue exhausted households crossing on flimsy boats from Turkey. In Germany, they had been greeted with applause at prepare and bus stations.

However the heat welcome quickly ended after EU nations disagreed over tips on how to share duty, with the primary pushback coming from Central and Jap European nations like Hungary and Poland. One after the other, governments throughout Europe toughened migration and asylum insurance policies, doubling down on border surveillance, incomes the nickname of “Fortress Europe.”

Simply final week, the U.N. Excessive Commissioner for Refugees denounced the rising “violence and severe human rights violations” throughout European borders, particularly pointing the finger at Greece.

And final 12 months lots of of individuals, primarily from Iraq and Syria but in addition from Africa, had been left stranded in a no man’s land between Poland and Belarus because the EU accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of luring hundreds of foreigners to its borders in retaliation for sanctions. On the time, Poland blocked entry to help teams and journalists. Greater than 15 folks died within the chilly.

In the meantime, within the Mediterranean, the European Union has been closely criticized for funding Libya to intercept migrants making an attempt to achieve its shores, serving to to return them to abusive — and sometimes lethal — detention facilities.

“There isn’t a approach to keep away from questions across the deeply embedded racism of European migration insurance policies once we see how totally different the reactions of nationwide governments and EU elites are to the folks making an attempt to achieve Europe,” Lena Karamanidou, an impartial migration and asylum researcher in Greece, wrote on Twitter.

Refugees fleeing the preventing in neighboring Ukraine arrive at Przemysl, Poland on Saturday.

Petr David Josek/AP


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Refugees fleeing the preventing in neighboring Ukraine arrive at Przemysl, Poland on Saturday.

Petr David Josek/AP

Jeff Crisp, a former head of coverage, growth and analysis at UNHCR, agreed that race and faith influenced therapy of refugees. Like many, he was struck by the double customary.

“Nations that had been actually unfavorable on the refugee difficulty and have made it very tough for the EU to develop coherent refugee coverage during the last decade, all of the sudden come ahead with a way more constructive response,” Crisp famous.

A lot of Orban’s opposition to migration is predicated on his perception that to “protect cultural homogeneity and ethnic homogeneity,” Hungary mustn’t settle for refugees from totally different cultures and totally different religions.

Members of Poland’s conservative nationalist ruling celebration have additionally constantly echoed Orban’s pondering on migration to guard Poland’s id as a Christian nation and assure its safety, they are saying, arguing that enormous Muslim populations might increase the chance of terror threats.

However none of those arguments has been utilized to their Ukrainian neighbors, with whom they share historic and cultural ties. Components of Ukraine at the moment had been as soon as additionally components of Poland and Hungary. Over 1 million Ukrainians reside and work in Poland and lots of of hundreds extra are scattered throughout Europe. Some 150,000 ethnic Hungarians additionally reside in Western Ukraine, a lot of whom have Hungarian passports.

“It’s not utterly unnatural for folks to really feel extra snug with individuals who come from close by, who communicate the (comparable) language or have a (comparable) tradition,” Crisp stated.

However as increasingly more folks scrambled to flee as Russia superior, a number of reviews emerged of non-white residents of Ukraine, together with Nigerians, Indians and Lebanese, getting caught on the border with Poland. In contrast to Ukrainians, many non-Europeans want visas to get into neighboring nations. Embassies from around the globe had been scrambling to help their residents struggling to get via chaotic border crossings out of Ukraine.

Movies shared on social media posted beneath the hashtag #AfricansinUkraine allegedly confirmed African college students being held again from boarding trains out of Ukraine — to create space for Ukrainians.

In Poland, Ruchir Kataria, an Indian volunteer, informed the Related Press on Sunday that his compatriots bought caught on the Ukrainian aspect of the border crossing main into Medyka, Poland. In Ukraine, they had been initially informed to go to Romania lots of of kilometers away, he stated, after that they had already made lengthy journeys on foot to the border, not consuming for 3 days. Lastly, on Monday they bought via.

The United Nations Refugee Company has urged “receiving nations (to) proceed to welcome all these fleeing battle and insecurity — no matter nationality and race.”

Photos: Romania providing warm welcome to refugees from Ukraine | Gallery News

Siret, Romania – Greater than 67,000 individuals from Ukraine have entered Romania for the reason that begin of the Russian invasion final week, in accordance with the Romanian authorities.

Lots of them are aged individuals or girls travelling with their youngsters after the Ukrainian parliament declared martial regulation, prohibiting males aged 18 to 60 from leaving the nation.

The refugees have arrived in Romania not solely from cities close to the border however from all throughout Ukraine, some travelling for 2 days to cross the border.

In Siret, northern Romania – the busiest border crossing between the 2 international locations – lengthy queues of automobiles have been seen, with some individuals spending the night time within the fields, ready to cross the border.

On the Romanian facet, a whole bunch of volunteers from civil society, the Romanian emergency inspectorate and Romanian firefighters present fast reduction, together with meals, cell phone sim playing cards and free transportation to varied cities in Romania.