#StandWithUkraine: War splits Ukrainian families as women and children seek safety in Romania and Europe
On February 24, on the day when Romanians traditionally celebrate Dragobete – the local equivalent of St. Valentine’s Day – Russia attacked Ukraine and shocked the whole world. It is for the first time since the end of the war in Yugoslavia, over 20 years ago, when Romania sees war at its border.
The fierce resistance of the Ukrainian people and their president Volodymyr Zelenskyy rallied unprecedented world support for the country and turned Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin into a pariah on the international scene.
In spite of its people’s heroism, Ukraine’s once peaceful and lively cities, including the capital Kyiv, turned into battlegrounds, and hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian people, mostly women and children, have already fled from the conflict and went into Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania as refugees.
Romania opened its borders to Ukrainian refugees from the first day of the conflict. Over 70,000 Ukrainian citizens crossed the border to Romania between February 24 and February 28, according to official data. Most of them are women with children as the men are not allowed to leave Ukraine. Many entered Romania by foot as the car lines at the Romanian border crossing points were kilometers long.
Here are some photos that were taken by Inquam photographers Alex Nicodim, Catalin Urdoi, Casian Mitu, Silviu Filip and Paul Ursachi at the border points in Siret and Sighetu Marmatiei:
The Romanian authorities as well as local NGOs, companies and citizens have mobilized to help the Ukrainian refugees. Many offer free accommodation, free transport, medical services as well as food and basic necessity products.
An entrepreneur from Suceava turned his four-star hotel and luxury ballroom into a transit center for refugees:
Protests against the Russian invasion and in solidarity with Ukraine were organized in several big cities in Romania last week, including one in front of the Russian Embassy in Bucharest.
Romanian military donated blood for Ukrainian soldiers wounded in the war.
Photos by Inquam Photos / Virgil Simionescu, Casian Mitu, Catalin Urdoi, Alex Nicodim, Silviu Filip, Paul Ursachi, Liviu Chirica, Simion Tataru, Adriana Neagoe, Octav Ganea