As world powers meet, Ukraine’s refugees just want the fighting to end

Ukrainian troops carry rocket-propelled grenades and sniper rifles against the city of Irpin, northwest of Kiev.

DIMITAR DILKOFF / AFP via Getty Images

  • Ukrainian refugees desperately want the war in their homeland to end.
  • This as dozens of people continue to leave the besieged country.
  • The majority of the refugees have fled to Poland.

Ukrainian refugee Viktoria Lysykh had one message for world leaders after crossing the border into Poland on Friday: “I want the war to end as soon as possible … In what way exactly? In some way.”

The 35-year-old arrived at Przemysl railway station with his teenage daughter and their two pet cats as US President Joe Biden prepared to visit the same border region to discuss the conflict with his Polish counterpart.

Asked what she hoped the high-level meeting would achieve, Lysykh laughed. The best hope was that the conflict would end “in the best possible way for Ukraine”. But above all, she just wanted to return to her home in the Donetsk region.

“Let’s stop (shoot) so that all this will be over. In what exact way it is achieved does not matter.”

It had taken Lysykh and her daughter 19 hours to get to the border. She planned to travel to Warsaw and then on to Germany, where she hoped to find work – her background is in human resources with a side job as a cosmetologist.

READ | 3 ways Russia’s invasion of Ukraine affects SA’s economy

There were no friends or family waiting for their destination to take them in.

Around her at the station, more women and children kept coming, filled with bags. About 32,500 refugees crossed into Poland on Thursday alone, border authorities said.

In total, according to Poland’s border authority, Poland has received more than 2.23 million people, more than half of the refugees fleeing Ukraine since Russia invaded.

Poland’s Deputy Education Minister Marzena Machalek said on Friday that about 700,000 Ukrainian children would be looking for places in local schools.

Biden was to meet with refugee organizations and sit down with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the town of Rzeszow, about 80 km from the station.

His visit comes a day after he and other Western leaders demonstrated unity against what Russia calls its “special military operation” in Ukraine.

At an unprecedented triple summit in Brussels, NATO announced plans for new combat units in four Eastern European countries near Ukraine, while the United States and Britain increased aid and expanded sanctions.

Biden announced several plans Friday, saying the U.S. will supply more liquefied natural gas to the EU to help it reduce its dependence on gas supplies from Russia.

Back at Przemysl, a 52-year-old refugee named Alla said there was only one thing that would stop the fighting quickly – something that Western powers have repeatedly ruled out – a NATO-enforced no-fly zone over Ukrainian territory.

“If they closed the sky, they would stop bombing our cities … and then the war would end quickly,” she said, waiting for another train to take off deeper into Poland.

As world powers meet, Ukraine’s refugees just want the fighting to end

Source link As world powers meet, Ukraine’s refugees just want the fighting to end

Back to top button