by Miceál O’Hurley
POLISH CHECKPOINT AT DOROHUSK — This once peaceful village bordering Ukraine is the now the scene of the largest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II. All along Poland’s 530 kilometer border with Ukraine, more than 128,000 evacuees fleeing the war Russia unleashed on Ukraine have crossed at this single checkpoint alone. The line of cars hoping to cross at the border stretches back kilometers creating a 40+ hour wait to gain entry into Poland.
Chris Melzer, UNHCR Senior Spokesperson give exclusive interview to Diplomacy in Ireland – European Diplomat as day-3 of the war comes to a close. You can watch the interview as part of our continuing coverage with a special edition of ‘In Conversation This Week’ in its entirety below.
Given the packed roadways, many people have abandoned their vehicles and have proceeded on foot, despite intermittent snow-and-rain. Cold, tired and frightened, the evacuees shelter in their car, or one of the abandoned cars littering the roads to the border crossings, in hopes of surviving the sub-0 temperatures that cause severe freezing at night. Others have tried to make shelters at night in the tree line remembering how Russian planes bombed and strafed civilians fleeing their advances in previous invasions in Moldova’s Transnistria, Georgia’s Abkhazia and Tskhinvali regions as well as Luhansk, Donetsk. Unconfirmed reports of attacks on civilians fleeing active combat over the last 3-days are seemingly supported by contemporaneous videos that have been authenticated by geolocation and other means.
The humanitarian crisis is unfolding on a daily basis. Slovakia, Romania, Moldova and Poland are all giving every effort to support the Ukrainians fleeing from Russian troops. The UNHCR indicates that funding for the Ukraine mission is at only 9% – leaving a critical resources gap. Donations can be made directly to the UNHCR: https://donate.unhcr.org/int/en/ukraine-emergency