Exodus of women: RICHARD PENDLEBURY on Polish border sees fleeing mothers and children, torn from their fathers, forced to fight in Ukraine… thousands of families head west for safety from Putin’s planes and tanks
- Mothers and children gathered at the Korczova border crossing with Poland on Friday
- Poland fears influx of more than a million civilians from Ukraine
- Reception stations are being installed at key points along the 300+ mile border.
- Thousands of people are heading west to escape Putin’s planes and tanks.
One could describe it as “the flight of women”.
Of course, the refugees were from all walks of life and walks of life.
Both the rich and the poor fled the disaster that engulfed their country, in all modes of transport, from brand new Porsches to beat-up hatchbacks.
But one detail is striking and monotonous: not a single person of combat-ready age is visible among them.
It was the exodus of Ukrainian mothers and children yesterday afternoon at the bleak Korchova border crossing with Poland.
Poland fears an influx of more than a million civilians from neighboring Ukraine amid a Russian invasion. Pictured: people on the Ukrainian side of the Polish border near Mostishki
They have been at the forefront of what Poland fears could be an influx of more than a million civilians from neighboring Ukraine driven from their homes by the Russian invasion.
The two countries share a border of more than 300 miles, and reception points are being set up at key crossing points to check in arrivals and provide them with food and water.
Thousands of families are heading west to seek safety from Putin’s planes and tanks.
Many of those we met there endured more than 24 hours of waiting on the Ukrainian side only to re-experience the grief that their husbands, fathers, sons and brothers were not allowed to cross the border with them into Poland.
Ukrainian authorities have ruled that men between the ages of 18 and 60 cannot leave. They are expected to stay and fight as part of a general military mobilization.
Thus, families were falling apart and their safety was within sight. Irya, 31, arrived at the Polish border with her husband Oleg and their 11-year-old daughter from Ternopil.
Ukrainian women and children at the Slovak-Ukrainian border crossing in Vyshne-Nemeck after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“Then, after 25 hours of waiting to cross, I had to say goodbye to Oleg,” she said.
“The situation is terrible. I don’t know what to do now. I’m lonely.’
Two families from Kyiv also saw their men being taken away at the border after waiting 20 hours to cross.
They did not meet prior to their ordeal and planned to travel to Italy and the Czech Republic respectively, where they had a relationship.
But they tied their fate together as soon as their people were forced to leave them, and set off in the same car to cross the border – solidarity between strangers, born of mutual suffering.
Among them was an eight-year-old schoolgirl, Boy, who was carrying her pet white mouse Pschuk in a plastic travel box.
The mouse was missed, the father is missing.
Some female drivers had special reasons to feel empty.
Thousands of families are heading west to seek safety from Putin’s planes. Pictured: Civilians arrive in the Medyka region of Poland, on the border with Ukraine, February 25.
22-year-old Gena was born in the Russian city of Rostov and married a Ukrainian woman. He was also banned from crossing.
She made it to the Polish side in her Toyota with two children and plans, she said, to drive to the capital Warsaw, although she doesn’t know anyone there.
She was pale and devastated, worried about what and who she had left behind. “I have many friends and relatives in Russia,” she told the Daily Mail.
“Now I have to run because of this country – Russia – which I have always considered a friend.”
By evening, we entered Ukraine through the pedestrian crossing near Moscisk.
It was an extraordinary scene. Thousands of women and children waited on foot in the cold after dark to escape the Russians and cross into Poland.