Full of fear and foreboding, meet the refugees who have fled Ukraine for Poland

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By Monica Pinna
The Ukrainian refugees Euronews met at the Polish border city of Przemyśl
The Ukrainian refugees Euronews met at the Polish border city of Przemyśl   -   Copyright  Credit: Monica Pinna   -  

Ukrainian refugees have been arriving at the Polish border city of Przemyśl carrying light luggage but a heavy burden.

Stepping down onto Polish soil means safety for them but also sadness for their lives left behind.

Many families have been split up: mainly women and children are arriving in Poland; the men have stayed home to fight.

Arriving in Przemyśl on the Poland-Ukraine border, they tell Euronews about how their lives have been turned upside down by the invasion, forcing them to flee with little more than the clothes they are wearing.

They also bear the emotional scars of seeing war come to the neighbourhoods and are quick to warn the rest of the world about Russian President Vladimir Putin.

"I want to say, so that the whole world, will know: Putin is the aggressor," Liuba, a refugee from Kyiv, told Euronews.

"Innocent people are dying. Tanks are shooting everywhere. A young girl, 18 yrs old is standing there with a machine gun. It’s horrible. Tanks in the city. Everywhere. People are wearing military uniforms. The son of one of my classmates left. We don’t know every evening if he will return.

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Liuba, rightCredit: Monica Pinna

"Tomorrow he will be in Europe. Stop him. He will come to Europe. He can’t stop himself. We have to stop him. Help. People are dying. It’s true. People are dying. Even small children. I don’t want this. I want to go home. I want to go back to Kyiv, to my apartment. I don’t want to go anywhere."

Alina Kosinska is a dentist from Zaporizhzhia, home to Europe's biggest nuclear plant, which was reportedly shelled by Russian forces.

"I’m very scared about my home, and I hope that Europe and the whole world would help and stop this," she told Euronews.

Credit: Monica Pinna
AlinaCredit: Monica Pinna

“I lost my home, I lost my normal life, I had a job there, and now I had to run away from my country because some crazy person wants... I don’t know what he wants.”

The 30-year-old dentist is one of hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, more than one million to Poland. The UN's refugee agency says the war could see refugee numbers increase to four million.

At Przemyśl many wait in the cold at what is a stopover on the road to a destination still unknown.

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VeronikaCredit: Monica Pinna

“Really no one expected this, it all happened so fast," said Veronika Kilchitzka, 20, from Kyiv. "Personally, I still can’t believe it. The whole world is talking about it. It’s scary to think that something like this can happen in the 21st century.

"I believe in our guys, those who volunteer to defend, those who go voluntarily to defend, I think that we will win because Russia fights with the army, we fight with people.”

Credit: Monica Pinna
TanyaCredit: Monica Pinna

Tanya Andreeva, a chef from Kyiv, fled to Poland with her seven-year-old son.

“We couldn’t take anything with us, it was too quick," she told Euronews. "There were bombs exploding. It was very scary. My child was very scared. We just threw some stuff in the suitcase and left. I ran with almost empty hands”.

“We crawled out of the basement and took a suitcase with what we could grab, underwear… we went the day before yesterday by bus from Kyiv at 4 am. It took 24 hours to get to Lviv. Exactly one day. In Lviv we have friends. We slept at their house and then we crossed the border and we are here, but we still have to travel and travel.

“I want to get my son a jacket and trousers because he was running around near the bus and got dirty and he doesn’t have any other clothes. So I’m looking to see what they have here. I have to get him changed.”