As the Russian forces continue their invasion of Ukraine, thousands of the country’s citizens have opted to leave their homes in the hopes of finding refuge in neighbouring countries.
At the port town of Isaccea in Romania, many Ukrainians have travelled by ferry as they seek shelter in places far removed from shelling, missiles, and occupying Russian troops.
There is an overwhelming sense of fear and uncertainty among all those who have crossed the Danube.
One girl, visibly shaken by the ordeal, had to face the journey without her parents. ”We had to go because of the war”, she said. “A few days ago, we were sitting at home, and now we’re trying to go to our brothers.”
“[My parents] stayed at home at Odessa […] Our grandma [is bedridden], and she couldn’t go.”
Another refugee hints at the odyssey in store for some as they head to relatives in other parts of Europe.
“We [will proceed] to Austria to our relatives,” she said. “We needed to go.”
Once they arrive on the Romanian side, the refugees have to wait a couple of hours for their documents to be verified before they can even set off on their long journey.
The UNHCR reports that the number of people fleeing Ukraine has now reached 368,000.
Spokesman Chris Melzer said on Twitter that the line of cars at the Poland-Ukraine crossing stood at 14 kilometres long, and those fleeing — primarily women and children — had to endure long waits in freezing temperatures overnight.
Poland’s government said on Saturday that more than 100,000 Ukrainians had crossed the Polish-Ukrainian border in the past 48 hours alone. Hungary reported another 66,000 refugees entering the country by Sunday.
Scenes such as those playing out at Isaccea are a stark reminder of the chaos and trauma in store for those simply trying to escape a terrifying theatre of war.