Ukraine war: Long queues at Polish border as thousands flee the violence

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By Mark Armstrong  with AFP
Tamara Kulman
Tamara Kulman   -   Copyright  Credit: AFP

Ukrainians are queuing for hours near the Polish border as thousands bid to flee the war raging in their homeland.

One of them is Tamara Kulman from Zhytomyr, which is situated west of the capital Kyiv.

The 34-year-old was in a long queue of traffic at Mostyska, which is fewer than 20 kilometres from the border with Poland.

"We are staying here for a long time," said Tamara. "Maybe six or seven hours already, but... it's crazy. It's crazy traffic, I don't know how to leave my native country.

"Actually, I don't want to leave my native country, but because of the invaders, I must leave it as fast as possible."

The main destinations for refugees include Poland, Romania and Hungary.

Many Ukrainians who do manage to cross the border have no plan other than to escape - they have no shelter, no job to go to, no transportation, and limited resources, and they consider themselves lucky to have got out.

On the Polish side of the border, some volunteers have been organised to help them, including volunteer Wiktoria Magnuszewska.

"We have already organised a web of people who will be willing to help with housing, with employment, with transportation. And right now we have found housing for about 12 families."

For many families leaving the country, there's the added heartbreak and fear of having to leave husbands, fathers and sons behind.

All men between the ages of 18-60 are forbidden to leave by the Ukrainian government. They've been told to stay and try to defend their country.