MOLDPRES RUNNING COMMENTARY: Fear, despair, hopes of Ukrainian refugees who seek rescue in Moldova
15:28 | 26.02.2022 Category: Interview, Event
Chisinau, 26 February /MOLDPRES/ - The face of the war from Ukraine, seen by the MOLDPRES State News Agency, which made a running commentary at the border crossing points Tudora and Palanca.
The feeling of state out of the common, of abnormal, of something unusual and, at the same time, dangerous, starts to be immediately felt on the road Stefan Voda towards the Moldovan-Ukrainian border crossing point. On the road, agglomeration with transport means with registration numbers of the neighbour country, many cars, buses and mini-buses with Moldovan numbers full of passengers. Everything is intensified in the immediate neighbourhood of the customs office and on its territory. People, a lot of people, on whose faces one can read fear, despair and uncertainty. .
Immense queues of people looking for refuge
On 25 February at noon, queues of hundreds of people who came to Moldova from Ukraine were at the border crossing point, looking for a refuge. Most of these people were women of various ages, young people and children. Not necessarily Ukrainians; we met Ukrainian residents of different ethnicities and nationalities, who said that they fled ‘’the wrath of war and bombardments.’’ ‘’We found in Ukraine the second motherland, we arranged our lives, labour, created families…’’
Almost all those with whom we managed to talk speak with torn, unfinished sentences, as the people felt lumps in their throats or are suffocated by their cry. In general, the red eyes and swollen by sleeplessness, tiredness or weeping are something normal here.
Cristina is from Odessa; she is 35 years old and was accompanied by her three children of 4, 6 and 12 years. The smallest ones, given that they not quite understand what is happening, are relatively calm and see the situation as a special travel and only the mother and her older daughter stay stuck to each other and wipe the tears from their eyes. They try to discuss calmly, but they hardly manage to do this. A single woman, left before her fate, with three children, two knapsacks and a bag on the shoulder. She has such a low stature and is so thin, that one can take her for her mother from the back. Cristina says that she took with her only the identity papers and the strictly needed things. Her husband is fighting and he was the one who insisted that she leaves along with the children. She has no close people in Moldova and set out urged by acquaintances, who assured her that she would be in safety here. „I don’t know where I have come, I am for the first time in Moldova, I do not know what is happening to my husband, to the parents, to other relatives… I set out only for the sake of children, otherwise, I would have remained along with my relatives,’’ the young woman said in tears.
Parents rescue their children
Many of the young people who came to Palanca say they were sent by the parents practically forcibly. Anastasia, 21, came from Belgorod Dnestrovsk, along with her cousin of the same age. The girl tells that she attended courses in the beauty field and started a business last year, which just began to go well. The war ruined her plans and she had to choose the way of exile: „We left everything and set out. With identity papers, some things for exchange. Where should I take money from? I still have not managed to collect it; yet, the father and the uncle were categorical and insisted that we leave.’’ Asked what the parents or other adult relatives will do, the girl answered they refuse to leave somewhere and just do not want to hear something about fleeing. „The parents say that they were born there, worked all their lives and earned what they could and if they are going to die in this war, they will accept such an end too.’’
A group of boys, with ages between 15 and 17 years, looked more joyful. They continue to believe that ‘’it is about a conflict, just as it has been earlier’’ and they will soon return home. „We do not believe that it is going to last. We are from Odessa, we have our life at home, education, friends, families. We hope that everything will end in a week, they (the governors – agency’s note) should agree and everything will be well again. Everything will be good. This is the 21st century, what is to be said?! One cannot die in wars now,’’ Denis, 17, said.
His friends also do not want to consider other variants of unfolding of things. „We must return home as soon as possible, our girlfriends are waiting for us there,’’ the young men said, who, it is clear, describe what is happening as an adventure.
„I come to children on a visit which I have not planned.’’
Against the background of those who flee ‘’in unknown direction,’’ relying only on the Moldovan authorities, the people who come with a concrete address, either to children, or to relatives or acquaintances have another mood.
This is the case of Ludmila, 56, who comes from Odessa to her daughter who lives in Chisinau, accompanied by a granddaughter. „I come to children. Yes. On an unplanned visit, for a while, I hope as short as possible. At least, I want to believe that the things are like that and I pray from the bottom of my heart. I am firmly sure that the politicians will find the reason and balance needed to agree. I have practically lived my life, I saw many things, both good and bad; yet, I would be sorry for the children, grandchildren. It has become so interesting and easy to live now, all the world belongs to them. It would be criminal for them to die just now, when they can start living,’’ woman said, trying to preserve the presence of spirit.
Natalia Gavrilita: „We will help everybody’’
All these things happened at noon, when it was sunny and the air temperatures were almost like in spring. The situation changed in the evening, when it became cold, as it is, nevertheless, February, outdoors. Meanwhile, the flow of people from the crossing bar increased. More women with children appeared, smaller and older, many small babies, in wheelchairs, in arms, at the chest of their mothers. A lot of people, who fled their homes with what they managed, some of them with company animals.
In these circumstances, the fear of the people has become practically palpable. They can hardly keep their tears. „It is night outdoors! What shall I do now, where shall I go, whom am I useful to?!’’
Namely on this period, Prime Minister Natalia Gavrilita visited the Palanca border crossing point. The prime minister spoke to refugees, found words of encouraging for many mothers present there. And at a certain moment, the PM, although hardly tried to be, first of all, a stateswoman, was not able to hide the human being in her. Maybe this is actually right. The statesman must be, first of all, man, with empathy, emotions and, if needed, with tears in eyes. It is complicated in different way, especially when she sees a huge human tragedy unfolding now, in the eyes of all the entire world.
„W will help each of you. We will do our utmost for you to have everything necessary. You are welcome in our country, even if in unhappy circumstances. You will enjoy every support and assistance of Moldova’s authorities. We have not expected something like this; yet, we will provide you with the assistance needed,’’ Natalia Gavrilita told the groups of refugees.
"God forbid for you to ever be in the place of the Ukrainians!’’
All refugees from Ukraine, with whom we discussed, want peace and understanding. Absolutely everybody is grateful to Moldova’s authorities for help, support and hospitability; yet, almost everybody want to return home, to the motherland.
At 14:00 on 25 February, a flow of almost 21,000 citizens of Ukraine was registered, of whom over 16,000 citizens at the entrance and about 5,000 at the exit. The main border crossing points remain to be Palanca-Maiaki-Udobnoe, (joint point), Tudora–Starokazacie, Otaci-Moghilev-Podolsk, Criva-Mămăliga. They are operational and work in additional shifts, with more than 1,120 policemen involved in the border checkpoints and green border. For the time being, no incidents have been recorded, and the Border Police eases the traffic and ensures the control of the border regime between the crossing points. .
Running commentary made by:
reporter – Lilia Grubii; photo reporter – Mihai Vengher.