Heartbreak and despair among refugees being scattered across Europe

Katarina made the sign of the cross towards a bus. Her mother and father were on board, about to leave Warsaw and head back into their home country of Ukraine.
“It’s the most horrible thing,” Katerina told us through her tears. “It could be the last time I see my parents.”

The family had just been through the most bittersweet reunion. Katarina and her sister Alina fled from Kyiv a few days ago.
Ukraine war: Putin ‘not yet ready’ to end invasion – live updates
Their parents were on holiday in Cuba when the war broke out and had only just made it to Warsaw.


So they had arranged to see each other, briefly, at the bus station – as Katarina’s parents boarded a coach home to Ukraine.

It’s quite a thing to turn your back on sanctuary and move back to hell.

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Image: People wait to board buses as they try to find a safer place to live
Through tears Katarina’s mother said resolutely: “I don’t want to stay in the safety of Poland. I want to go home.”
It was such a moving sight but it was all over in a minute or so. Not even time to find out the names of Katarina’s parents. Then they were all gone.
Others were being directed towards transport to take them to more Polish cities and across Europe. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war is scattering people near and far.
There were so many buses with signs in the windows advertising country after country prepared to take people in.
A coach pulled in from central Ukraine – its passengers got off and waited to board a second bus to Spain. None of them appeared to have any connection to Spain.
A young boy waiting around sought his mother’s love and they stood cuddling idling time away.
Surely when he’s older he will remember this – who made them flee across Europe who made their lives hell.
But 15-year-old Marta was already angry.
“I feel tired. I feel very tired,” she said. “I know Spain is a safe country. But I’m Ukrainian. I want to be at home with my cat and my dog and my family.”

Image: Millions have left Ukraine after the war broke out two weeks ago
Waiting to be called forward to board a bus to Estonia, Kira stood with her mother and her toy pig. They both looked so tired and her mother looked broken.
She said: “I just want the war to end.”
We spotted a bus with Bournemouth on the front. But unlike the continent of Europe, the UK isn’t offering open passage.
Only people with a visa got on the Bournemouth bus and only Ukrainian refugees with family in the UK got a visa.
Among the passengers we met Marta Watzyk and her children Kristina and Matrij who were going to stay with friends in France.

Image: Areas of Russian control and advance as of 12 March
Read more: Russia can only take Kyiv if it ‘razes it to the ground’, President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says
They struggled over broken bridges under gunfire to escape from Irpin near Kyiv. She said: “It was very hard to escape Irpin. We were running under the bullets.”
Marta said her husband was so afraid for his family he forced them to leave.
She said: “He pushed us to go. Because we were all in danger. And he told us that what we needed to get the children out. It wasn’t a place to live anymore.”
She smiled in a way people do when they are kind of resigned to something they know they can’t change.
As Marta talked, her answers to our questions were accompanied by music being piped round the coach.
She said: “I’m not sure exactly what the name of the song is. But I know it’s the kind of thing they play on coaches or restaurants as background music.

Image: Marta Watzyk said her husband was so scared for his family he forced them to leave

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“It’s jolly and the kind of thing you’d hear on a bus on holiday.”
It’s so bizarrely incongruous as the backdrop to Marta’s account of running for her life with her children.
As the refugees disembarked from buses from Ukraine we asked where they were from and one by one they revealed the names of towns and cities which had become familiar for bearing the bombs of Russia.
Natasia fled from Sumy where there was no food, water or electricity. She was met by friends. I asked her what she did for a living and she fluttered her eyelashes, trying to explain she is a beautician.
It was a light hearted moment in a conversation of sarcasm and anger towards the architect of the pain of all these people.
“Putin is in his bunker,” she said sarcastically. “He’s fine and smiling. But the whole nation will stand up against him.”

Source : Sky News