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Greatest Refugee Crisis Since WWII: 2 Million Ukrainians Flee War, Many Flood Polish Border

Randy Mancini 8 Mar 8

UKRAINE-POLAND BORDER - A sea of humanity is slowly moving through Ukraine in a desperate attempt to flee the war. North of Kyiv, as many as 100,000 people may be trapped without water or electricity as Russian forces bombard the city.

More than two million people have already escaped, most of them women and children. Here along the border of Poland and Ukraine, the greatest refugee crisis since World War II is unfolding.

CBN News traveled to the town of Rava-Ruska, just west of Lviv. The drive normally takes about 30 minutes, but nothing around here is normal now. It took us nearly five hours to reach this border town that straddles Ukraine and Poland as hundreds of cars sat bumper to bumper, filled with women, children and the elderly, fleeing the conflict here.

In the midst of conflict, you can help! Operation Blessing is on the ground in Ukraine providing emergency relief and supplies to families and individuals in the cities of Kiev and Krasnohorivka. Please #pray and take action to help crisis victims now: https://t.co/0ahmQKNq4L pic.twitter.com/iUipTy2YgO

— Operation Blessing (@operationbless) March 7, 2022

Because we are with the press, we get through the line fairly quickly, thanks to a Ukrainian military escort. A quarter of a mile from the border, we meet Iryna Haydash, standing with so many others in the bitter cold, waiting to cross. "The last three days have been the most horrible days of my life," she told us.

Iryna is here with her two children after escaping bombings just south of Kyiv. Ten-year-old Milla is worried about her best friends back home. "They are not answering my text messages. The last few days I have had many terrible emotions. I'm just praying they are ok, but right now I'm controlling my emotions," Milla said.

Anna Mykytenko and her three children are standing a few feet away. They were in an underground bunker in Kyiv for a week when she started to notice worrying signs.

"The psychological impact was taking a toll on the kids. They kept asking me, 'Mama! When will this all end? Mama! How long will this go on for? Mama, why is this happening in our country?' That's when I decided to leave," Mykytenko said.

Anna's daughter, Nastya, also 10, really misses her father. "My dad was not allowed to come because men who are between 18 and 60 years old cannot leave the country since they have to fight. I wish he was here with us because it's not the same without him," Nastya said.

READ  CBN's Operation Blessing Sending International Relief Team to Poland-Ukraine Border to Help Refugees

***Donate to OPERATION BLESSING Relief Efforts in Poland and Ukraine***

Olexander Stepanyuk, standing at the last Ukrainian border checkpoint, was overcome by emotion as he watched his wife, 2-year-old, and 9-year-old walk across to Poland.

Olexander is from Vinnytsia. This past weekend, Russia launched 8 cruise missiles destroying that city's main airport. "This is terrible that in the 21st century something like this is happening. How can one man cause so much grief in a big European country. We did nothing to deserve this," he said.

The U.N. says more than a million people so far have escaped from the central and eastern parts of Ukraine. Over 800,000 of them have walked right here, through the gates we visited, and the future for them in Poland remains uncertain.

#Pray for the safety of families and individuals caught in the crossfire, #pray God's mercy and provision for refugees, #pray for peace... PRAY. https://t.co/0ahmQKNq4L pic.twitter.com/cXox8QPJJT

— Operation Blessing (@operationbless) March 7, 2022

Those unable to walk to the Polish border, boarded buses, while tearful husbands watched and blew last kisses to loved ones. Yevgenia, who is fleeing from Kyiv, said, "I really don't want to leave my house, my city and my country. I hope that everything will end and we will return home soon."

With her children by her side, Iryna Haydash and a dozen others took their last few steps on Ukrainian soil, and walked into an unknown future. "I have feelings of despair and fear but I know I have to fight it to stay strong for my children," she said.

***Donate to OPERATION BLESSING Relief Efforts in Poland and Ukraine***