Woman weeps after crossing Ukrainian border into Romania

Tears for those still left behind: Woman weeps in her car after crossing Ukrainian border into Romania as thousands queue for miles to escape war

  • Woman photographed crossing into Romania at Sighetu Marmatiei border point
  • She teared up after driving her car out of Ukraine in a mixture of fear and relief
  • Comes as Russian troops looked to be bearing down on Kyiv by Friday afternoon

A woman was photographed crying with relief as she crossed out of Ukraine and into Romania after fleeing the country in search of safety as Russia pounded Kyiv and other cities with airstrikes for a second day.

The unidentified woman crossed in her car at the Sighetu Marmatiei border point in northern Romania early this afternoon and appeared to furrow her brow in a mixture of fear and relief as she left Ukraine behind. 

Thousands of Ukrainians have fled the country in the past 24 hours after Russia launched an all out invasion of the country on Vladimir Putin’s personal orders in the early hours of Thursday. 

Cars had today been backed up for several miles in cities and border crossings as Ukrainians rushed to leave the country with many cars being abandoned after running out of petrol on route.  

Authorities in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova mobilized to receive them, offering them shelter, food and legal help – and eased their usual border procedures, including Covid-19 testing requirements.  

It came as Russian troops were bearing down on Kyiv after advancing from Chernobyl, less than 60 miles north of the city, this afternoon. 

Ukrainian troops tasked with the city’s defence began setting up defensive positions across highways, on bridges and on street corners in preparation for what seemed set become a bloody street-to-street fight.

A woman was photographed crying with relief as she crossed out of Ukraine and into Romania at Sighetu Marmatiei after fleeing the country in search of safety as Russia pounded Kyiv and other cities with airstrikes for a second day

A woman with two children and carrying bags walk on a street to leave Ukraine for Slovakia after Russia invaded the country 

People queue upon arrival to the border checkpoint between Slovakia and Ukraine after fleeing the country as Russian troops advanced towards Kyiv

Terrified citizens wait at Kyiv Central Train Station for a train out of the capital to the western Ukrainian city of Lviv as Russian forces advance

A woman and her children arrive from Ukraine in Romania as Russian troops were bearing down on Kyiv after advancing from Chernobyl, less than 60 miles north of the city, this afternoon

People from Ukraine rest at a refugee shelter in a culture house in Zahony, Ukraine, on Friday after fleeing invading Russian soldiers

At a major border crossing, in Medyka, Poland, Ukrainians arrived on foot and by car and train and were greeted by Polish authorities and volunteers offering them food and hot drinks. 

Slovak police said that most of the people arriving at its border were women with children after Ukraine banned men ages 18 to 60 from leaving the country, and this appeared to be the case everywhere.

Some sought to join relatives who have already settled in Poland and other EU nations, whose strong economies have for many years attracted Ukrainian workers.

Marika Sipos fled Koson, a village in western Ukraine close to the Hungarian border, arriving early Friday in Lonya, Hungary.

‘We had to leave behind everything, our whole life’s work,’ Sipon said, describing it as a ‘terrible feeling’ to leave her property.

Erika Barta, arriving from Backi Breg, Ukraine, said she would seek shelter with relatives in Hungary and planned to return when the danger passes.

‘It’s not safe at home anymore,’ she said.

For many the first stop was a train station in Przemysl, a city near Medyka in southeastern Poland that is a transit point for many. 

Ukrainians slept on cots and in chairs as they awaited their next moves, relieved to escape the shelling of Kyiv and other place.

At a major border crossing, in Medyka, Poland, Ukrainians arrived on foot and by car and train and were greeted by Polish authorities and volunteers offering them food and hot drinks 

Ukrainian women and children are seen after crossing the Slovak-Ukrainian border after Russian forces invaded

People wait to board a evacuation train from Kyiv to Lviv from the capital’s central train station in a bid to escape the city before Russian troops advancing into the area arrive

A woman rides a bicycle as she leaves Ukraine for Romania, after Russia launched an invasion of the country on Thursday

A woman holds a child after fleeing Ukraine for Romania at the Siret border crossing on Friday

 Authorities in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova mobilized to receive them, offering them shelter, food and legal help – and eased their usual border procedures, including Covid-19 testing requirements

Refugees from Ukraine sleep in a tent part of a humanitarian center at the Moldovan-Ukrainian border

Italian Premier Mario Draghi spoke in Parliament on Friday of the ‘long lines of cars leaving Kyiv and other Ukrainian cities, heading mostly toward EU borders,’ and said ‘it is possible to imagine a huge influx of refugees toward neighboring European countries.’

‘The images we are seeing – of unarmed civilians forced to hide in bunkers and subways – are terrible and bring us back to the darkest days of European history,’ he said.

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, estimated that more than 100,000 people were believed to have left their homes in Ukraine and that up to four million people may flee to other countries if the situation escalates.

Hungary, which mobilized its military to help, announced in a decree this week that all Ukrainian citizens arriving from Ukraine, and all third-country nationals legally residing there, would be entitled to protection.

A husband and wife are reunited after travelling separately through the border from Ukraine to Poland

Ukrainian citizens arrive in Romania by crossing the Siret border after Russia launched military operation targeting Kyiv on Friday

The UN refugee agency, UNHCR, estimated that more than 100,000 people were believed to have left their homes in Ukraine and that up to four million people may flee to other countries if the situation escalates

Two women and two children walk across the Ukrainian-Romania border at Siret on Friday after fleeing invading Russian troops

The welcome that Poland and Hungary are showing Ukrainians now is very different from the unwelcoming stance they have had to refugees and migrants from the Middle East and Africa in recent years. 

Hungary built a wall to keep them out when a million people, many Syrians fleeing war, arrived in Europe in 2015.

Poland is now building its own wall with Belarus after thousands of mostly Middle Eastern migrants sought to enter from Belarus in past months. 

The EU accused Russia-backed Belarus of encouraging that migration to destabilize the EU. Some of those people denied entry into Poland died in forests.

But Ukrainians are a different matter altogether – Europeans who are mostly Christian, and to the Poles, fellow Slavs with similar linguistic and cultural roots.

Transcarpathia, Ukraine’s westernmost region which borders Hungary, is also home to about 150,000 ethnic Hungarians, many of whom are Hungarian citizens. 

While Russia’s invasion has not yet extended to that area, which is separated from the rest of Ukraine by the Carpathian Mountains, many have decided not to wait for the situation to get worse. 

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