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As Russia steps up assault, Ukrainians beat weary path to safety -Breaking

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© Reuters. As Ukrainian soldiers return home to Ukraine, they carry their gear towards the border. This was at the border crossing in Medyka (Poland), March 2, 2022. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Krisztina Too and Alicja Patak

TISZABECS / Rzeszow, Poland (Reuters] – Thousands fleeing fighting in Ukraine rushed across Central European border crossings Wednesday. Russian troops bombed Ukrainian cities and seemed poised for an advance on Kyiv.

Western countries raced to provide humanitarian and military assistance while putting pressure on Russia’s economy, already in turmoil under sanctions. U.S. President Joe Biden warned Vladimir Putin that he had no idea of what was coming.

After Russian attempts to seize major cities were unsuccessful, Western analysts claim that Moscow shifted its tactics and began to shell areas in order to subdue persistent resistance.

Nearly 700,000 refugees fled neighbouring countries after the invading forces began. The UN Refugee Agency warns that this could be Europe’s worst refugee crisis.

The flood of fleeing citizens showed no signs of slowing down, even though it was almost a week since the invasion. Putin called the operation “a special military operations”.

Julia from Kyiv carried a baby in her arms at Tiszabecs on Hungary’s border to Ukraine. She spoke about leaving her husband behind to fight and three of her friends killed by a missile strike the day after she returned.

According to 32-yearold, she said that “I spent the night at the basement before we went on foot to get to the railway station.” “If my children weren’t with me, I would stay with my husband.”

In central Europe, the memories of Moscow’s power in the aftermath of World War Two are still fresh, many volunteers came to the border to bring food, clothing, and blankets.

The majority of refugees fled to the European Union, which Ukraine longs for, in northern Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. For medical assistance and processing asylum papers, officials have set up tents.

SIM CARDS AND RYE SOUP

The train station in Przemysl is a village of around 60,000 people, just west of Medyka. Volunteers gave out cookies, sweets and drinks to those awaiting their onward transportation across Europe.

Many people were able to rest at night by using the folding beds that had been temporarily erected inside, after long journeys on wartime roads and waiting in long lines to cross the border. Other people could take advantage of the strollers and SIM cards that were available for free.

Przemysl officials said that they are working on setting up humanitarian centers at the Ukrainian border in order to provide quick food and assistance for those who have been waiting in line to get across.

Many train companies offered travel free of charge to refugees fleeing war-torn countries. Cars from Ukraine were exempted from crossing Oresund Bridge, which connects Denmark and Sweden.

WIZZ Air, a low-cost carrier, announced that it will provide 100,000 seats for refugees who fly short-haul from Poland, Slovakia and Hungary to Romania.

A shopping centre was jammed with Ukrainian-speaking people on Tuesday night in central Warsaw.

Around half the Polish refugees are children. On Wednesday, Polish TV announced that it will start streaming programs for Ukrainian children. It also said that Polish television was working to translate Polish children’s shows into Ukrainian.

The largest Ukrainian population in Poland is approximately 1,000,000. However, more than 450,000 people have crossed the border to Poland so far. Data from the Romanian border patrol showed that 118,000 Ukrainians crossed it.

Many foreigners were living or studying in Ukraine when the invasion started.

About 250 Indian students fled to Romania via the Siret checkpoint. They were staying Tuesday night at a shelter set up in a Voluntari sports gym, close to Bucharest.

Aman Sharma (20), a medical student from India, said that he had many Ukrainian friends who have fled Chernivtsi.

“My last words were, “Take care.” “I don’t know when I will be able meet them again.”

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