Documents, pets, and photos are among the items taken by refugees fleeing Ukraine.
Margot, 15 years-old, refugee fleeing the conflict from neighbouring Ukraine holds her dog inside a tent at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania, Saturday, March 5, 2022. (AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru)
SIRET, Romania (AP) — It's been a long time since Romania has been in the news. There isn't much time for sentimentality when it comes to life and death decisions. For their treks to safety, war refugees fleeing Russian ordnance in Ukraine took only the essentials: important documents, a cherished pet, and frequently not even a change of clothes.
Lena Nesterova recalls the exact moment her fate was sealed: February 24, 5:34 a.m., when the first explosions in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, indicated the feared Russian invasion.
Fearful, they took their only kid, dog, and all the documentation and left Kyiv with only the clothing on their backs, she claimed.
Everything was left behind.We don't have any clothes, nothing, Nesterova added. And we have no idea what will happen after that.
Margo, 18, cuddled the family's tiny Chihuahua, which was tenderly wrapped in a purple puffer, in the shelter of a refugee camp in the Romanian border city of Siret.
According to the United Nations-affiliated Organization for Migration in Geneva, 1.45 million people have evacuated Ukraine ten days after Russia invaded the country. According to the United Nations, the overall number of refugees could reach 4 million, making it the century's largest refugee crisis.
The majority have arrived in Poland and other European Union member nations, with the union providing temporary protection and residency cards to those fleeing Ukraine. Some are beginning to find their way to other countries.
More than 100,000 people have arrived in Slovakia, with many more preparing to travel to the Czech Republic, which has a large Ukrainian community. Thousands of children will be taught in their native Ukrainian language by Czech officials.
Hundreds of people arrive by rail every day in Berlin, Germany's capital. 10,000 migrants have arrived in Italy, 40% of whom are youngsters, with the education ministry signaling plans to place them in classrooms so that they can integrate.
Iryna Bogavchuk intended to travel light for the trip to Romania from Chernivtsi, which was only 40 kilometers (30 miles) — but seemed like an eternity — away. In happier times, her hometown was teeming with students, drawn by the university's 19th century architecture, which earned it a place on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
She stroked the sleeping kid in her lap and murmured, I took my daughter. I'm hoping we'll be fine.
Bogavchuk carried Polaroids instead of things, which would have burdened her down. She fumbles through her wallet to find them. Her daughter's 10th birthday; a photo with her husband, whom she had to leave behind because Ukrainian men of military age are prohibited from leaving the nation. I miss him, she replied, her eyes welling up with tears.
Ludmilla Nadzemovska flew from Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, to Budapest, Hungary. She prepared for the worst by buying travel cages for her four cats a month ago, just as US intelligence revealed Russia's intention to invade. However, she made the decision to escape in an instant after learning that her neighbors had been killed by Russian forces.
I want to go back, she said as she sat at a camp near the border in Tiszabecs, Hungary. However, my family and dogs come first.
Hundreds of Roma families are being welcomed at a sports complex in Chisinau, Moldova, a non-EU country sandwiched between Ukraine and Romania.
Maria Cherepovskaia, 50, traveled the first 15 kilometers from her home in the Donetsk pocket, which is controlled by Russia. She received assistance from others, including transportation and food, to complete the remaining approximately 900 kilometers to Moldova.
We're going to stay here till the conflict is ended. We have no idea where to go, she explained. They're bombing there. What can we do when there's so much, so much?