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evacuation point


The small bus was filled with people from the small villages in and around Wovchansk, which are on the route of Russian troops advancing into the Kharkov region of Ukraine.

I met them at the halfway point where they were being taken to Kharkiv, the nearest big city.

Volunteers and rescue workers helped those unable to walk and distributed water and food. Cellphone service was limited during the fighting, so satellite internet connections were set up to allow evacuees to tell loved ones they were safe or allow them to try to check if family members were still in danger.

Even so, there was no time to even catch my breath.

Just over a week after Russian troops crossed the border again, thousands of people were rushed to Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second city with a population of 1.2 million. Those fleeing border areas described entire streets devastated by the war.

Displacement is nothing new in the region, and evacuations may be far from over. Everyone on this bus had already faced Russian occupation: in the first months of the war, Russian troops had reached the outer ring of Kharkov, forcing hundreds of thousands of people to flee before Ukraine pushed them back get away.

They have again bombarded the city with missiles and powerful glide bombs. Although their new offensive has slowed in recent days, concerns remain that it could put Kharkov within range of artillery fire again.

author Peter Robbins.

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