Not again: two years after fleeing COVID in China, Ukrainian runs from war

By Natasa Bansagi and Stephen Farrell

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) – Two years in the past Julia Volok was shocked to expertise an offended reception from fellow Ukrainians as she fled house from Wuhan in China, the epicentre of the soon-to-be international coronavirus pandemic.

The buses carrying the Chinese language-language scholar and her fellow evacuees by Ukraine on their strategy to quarantine have been pelted with projectiles as in the event that they have been, she mentioned, “enemies of the individuals”.

Now that have has paled into near-insignificance after Russia invaded her homeland, forcing Volok to as soon as once more flee – this time along with her mom – on a 2,400 km journey throughout Europe.

Six trains and a bus carried her on a four-day journey from being an online and app designer from Dnipro in jap Ukraine to dwelling as a refugee in Aachen on the westernmost fringe of Germany.

Volok instructed Reuters how two weeks after the Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine, which Russia refers to as a “particular army operation”, her household lastly determined they could not threat staying within the metropolis.

“On March 11 round 6 a.m, my mother obtained to my room and mentioned that now we have some rockets in our metropolis,” she mentioned in a video name.

“I noticed we’re actually at risk, so we determined to go instantly from our metropolis. So perhaps in just a few hours we packed all our stuff. Simply we had just a few tiny suitcases and we moved out.”

Volok waited an agonisingly lengthy 9 hours at a packed Dnipro railway station, fearing it too might come below assault, earlier than lastly boarding a prepare west to Lviv, and onwards to the Polish border.

She described sharing seats with different scared passengers and feeling powerless and weak. However in Germany a heat reception awaited her and Ukrainians from even harder-hit cities corresponding to Kharkiv.

“I really feel 100% higher as a result of I begin to sleep properly as a result of there aren’t any sirens,” she mentioned. “And I don’t want to fret about will I get up tomorrow or not.”

(Reporting by Natasa Bansagi in Gdansk, Poland. Writing by Stephen Farrell in Lviv, Ukraine; Enhancing by Kirsten Donovan)

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