'Did Russia come to kill us?' Parts of Ukraine now dealing with internal displacement: journalist

Benise Balaoing, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2022 01:04 PM

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MANILA – Parts of western Ukraine are now dealing with the influx of internally-displaced individuals as Russia continues to invade other parts of the country, a journalist said Monday.

“Here, the main issue that we are facing now is the big influx of internally displaced people from all over Ukraine from different regions, from southern Ukraine, from eastern Ukraine, also from Kiev, Central Ukraine,” said Olga Tokariuk, a freelance correspondent who has herself fled the capital with her family and is now sheltering in western Ukraine.

“Actually now at the place we’re staying here, we are hosting 10 people who arrived from other regions of Ukraine, from Odessa and also from Kiev, like friends of mine, they arrived just this morning, they managed to catch a train from Kiev--really really lucky, because they don’t have a car, and the train is the only option basically to exit Kiev.”

“And they managed you know to catch the last train before the curfew began in Kiev, it was like 10 minutes before the curfew started,” she said.
Tokariuk said Ukranians fleeing to safety have to board crowded trains as they run from war.

“They had to make this very long journey, they’re uncomfortable because their train was overcrowded, they were sharing the compartment that is usually for 4 people, with 8 adults, 5 kids, 3 cats and a dog.”

“So you can imagine the conditions that people have to endure to flee to safety but thankfully they are safe here, we’re helping them,” she said.

Tokariuk said she considers herself lucky that they were able to leave Kiev before the Russian invasion started.

"I have a small child so we decided as a family to move to safety before the invasion started and we were in a way lucky to do so because my kid didn’t have to witness, you know, the missiles flying all over her heads, as many of her friends did, unfortunately."

"You know, they [had] to wake up at 5 in the morning at the sound of Russian airstrikes, bombs falling over their heads with kids asking their mothers, 'Mom, is this war? Did Russia come to kill us?'"

"It's something really no parent would ever want to hear from their children," she said.

Tokariuk said international organizations must now look into how they can work better to prevent another incident like the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I think it’s already abundantly clear that the world will never be the same again. You know, huge country, second military power, nuclear power attacked without any reason a peaceful neighbor that only wanted to be a democracy, to live and to have a right to determine its own future,” she said.

“It is unsustainable, it showed that the system of the global order that was established after World War II and international organizations--UN Security Council, other international organizations--they were not able to prevent this oppression.”

"So it’s a signal that the whole system of international institutions should be reviewed now in order to prevent, a repetition of what is happening now,” she stressed.

--ANC, 28 February 2022