Humanitarian corridors have helped thousands flee Ukraine. Women, children, and the elderly continue to flee west to find safe ground. The twentieth day of the war in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s invasion was not able to subvert the will of an entire country.
As Shasa gets off the bus at Przemysl Station, 14 km from the Polish-Ukrainian border, he carries a guitar. She is 17 and is accompanied her cousin Natalia (16 year old), and three of her sisters: Iryna, 10 and Alina, 8 years old; Marya, 3 and her mother Alona Skrypnik (3 years). They set off from Irpin on the outskirts Kyiv in a bus. There, they were joined by 14 others who traveled along secondary roads to Rivne. From Rivne, they split into two groups, and drove to Lviv.From here, they continued their journey to the Medyaka border crossing in another bus. Poland.They intend to remain in Poland and they want to be close to Ukraine so that they can return to their homeland as soon as possible after the war ends. Alona, visibly hurt, says, “We left behind my brother, and my husband. Both have military experience and didn’t hesitate to enlist for our country.” “My brother Alex is a widower and I promised to take care of his daughter” He says this as he holds his niece close.
They are assisted quickly by a volunteer who helps with their bags and leads them to the train station. This station quickly became a refuge for thousands of Ukrainians, thanks to its offices, waiting rooms, corridors, and cafeteria.Two policemen are at the door to one of these rooms. The cots are lined up at the back. A table with three volunteers serves juice and cookies to the children. An improvised play area is at the center of attention.
The Polish Border Guard yesterday reported that over 1.7 million people had crossed the Ukrainian border since February 24th. Over 2.8 million Ukrainians have fled their homes since February 24, according to the Polish Border Guard. UNHCR, UN Refugee Agency, estimates that half a million refugees are children. Yesterday, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office stated that 85 children died in the conflict and more than 100 were injured since the Russian invasion.
Unaccompanied minors from Ukraine who are crossing the border to Poland are sent to foster homes and child protection centers in Poland. In order to protect children and adolescents, the government has opened a guardianship process through the official instances, without considering adoption and with the aim, if feasible, of family reunion. The Refugee Assistance Law, which was recently passed, gives all Ukrainian citizens the legal right to stay in Poland, as well as access to the Polish labor force and rights to benefits and medical treatment. The PESEL personal identification number will be available to refugees.
Alona was able to get tickets to Warsaw in just hours. She chose Warsaw as the capital of Poland because she believes the girls will be more likely to attend Polish classes and to join the school there. Viktoria, a 14-year-old girl, crossed the border with some friends. Her mother passed away a few years ago, and her father stayed in Ukraine. Now that her group is split in Poland, Viktoria has been transferred to a children’s shelter or foster family. Alona would like to care for her but was told she must go through an official process. She says she wants to, as she is convinced that her own daughters would be able to take her place. She points out, “The past few years I was a homewife. But I am now an early childhood education instructor and I don’t fear working.”
Alona is one of thousands of brave Ukrainian women who take the most vulnerable away from war dangers every day. You can overcome panic and fear while traveling for weeks to safety.