English Section

Over 150,000 Ukraine war refugees enter Poland

27.02.2022 12:05
More than 156,000 have fled to Poland  from war-torn Ukraine over the last three days of Russia’s invasion, the Polish Border Guard has said.
Border Guard officer helping Ukrainian refugees at the Medyka border crossing, February 26, 2022.
Border Guard officer helping Ukrainian refugees at the Medyka border crossing, February 26, 2022.Photo: PAP/Darek Delmanowicz

The latest figure represents an increase of tens of thousands on what was reported Saturday, showing just how quickly Ukrainian refugees are flowing into their western neighbour.

"Since the start of the hostilities in Ukraine on February 24, Border Guard officers processed a total of 187,800 people at all the crossings with Ukraine," Poland's Border Guard wrote Sunday on Twitter.

That number also included those who had left Poland for Ukraine, but the vast majority, or more than 156,000, were people fleeing Ukraine, they said.

"Yesterday alone, a record number of people were processed... including 77,300 into Poland" from Ukraine," they added.

Tens of thousands had to wait long hours in freezing conditions to leave their country with lines of cars stretched for several kilometres towards the border crossing at Medyka, southern Poland, some 85 km from Lviv in western Ukraine.

"We have observed heavy traffic piling up at the Ukrainian side of the border," spokesman for a southern department of Poland’s Border Guard Piotr Zakielarz told Polish Radio on Sunday.

“All Border Guard officers have been mobilised to work full time,”  he added. 

"In a purely humane gesture, officers help women carry their kids and luggage to buses or until they can be taken care of by their friends or families," Zakielarz also said. 

The refugees are mainly women and children as men of fighting age are not allowed to leave their country. Recent Ukrainian rules restrict men aged 18-60, who could be conscripted, from crossing the borders according to the general mobilisation decree which Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky signed on Thursday in the wake of Russia's invasion.

Poland’s border services began to implement an assistance plan for refugees on Thursday, following an Interior Ministry decision after Russia's attack on Ukraine that day.

Poland, which was already home to an estimated 1.5 million Ukrainians before Russia's invasion, has so far seen the bulk of those fleeing Ukraine cross into its territory.

Thousands of others have fled to fellow Ukraine neighbours Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania.


Source: IAR, PAP, AFP