As I help document the plight of displaced Ukrainians, their dignity is a lesson in humility.

The past 10 days have been an inspiring time for me. With just a few hours’ notice, I was asked to prepare for a mission in Poland-Ukraine border to cover the arrival of refugees fleeing Ukraine.

Not a tough and tough challenge for the world, as Vladimir Putin’s brutal march into Ukraine continues, but for me it was an opportunity to witness one of the most amazing events in the world. the most important historical event of our time.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to the worst displacement of people since World War II.

I have covered several exercises involving people fleeing their homes around the world, such as the battlefields in Syria, the Gaza Strip and Western Sahara, the famines in Ethiopia and South Sudan, and the earthquakes in Haiti. and Nepal.

Each of them is as exhausted as you are next when you see the pain and suffering of children.

As a father of three young children, witnessing such misery only gets harder.

What impressed me most about this war was the dignity and spirit of the Ukrainian people as I took my first pictures and videos in Dorohusk, Poland, as they rode in cars, trucks, buses and cars. walk.

Some of these people had been traveling for three days or had left their homes weeks earlier to seek safety in western Ukraine, before moving out over fears the war was moving in that direction. .


Viktor from Ukraine greets his family after they arrived on a train from Lviv in western Ukraine across the border to Przemysl, Poland. Photo: Mark Condren

Then there are lengthy delays at the border itself, possibly up to 20 hours of standing outside in the cold.

This place focuses mainly on women, living off their children and belongings. This is naked human life. These evacuees are headed for an uncertain future, still in shock at the onslaught on their country and their lives upended.

It is amazing to see almost every child clutching a teddy bear for their dear life but still smiling and rolling their eyes as the Polish community and international aid agencies get to work to save them. provide some food and comfort.

The warm reception they have received in Poland and beyond has been astounding.

Family pets are treated with the same respect as children. Cats, dogs and even a hamster wrapped in blankets in a human cage are fleeing to safety. Notably, relief stations across the border are ready to provide food for dogs and cats when pet owners pass by.

Men between the ages of 16 and 60 were not allowed to leave Ukraine because they had to stay to fight the Russian invaders. Often, the elderly are too weak to make the journey and are determined to stay.

Husbands, parents and grandparents have been left behind by women bringing their children to safety, although I will occasionally witness three generations of a family being helped to safety. . The image of frozen hands being warmed by the roadside fireplace was etched in my mind.

An elderly woman came back to the Ukrainian border and kissed me. Brave and charming.

My mission took me and my colleague Fionnán Sheahan to several points along the 500 km Polish-Ukrainian border.

From Dorohusk near Belarus to Kroscienko bordering Slovakia, here are the places that have helped tell the story to our readers. Irish independence.

I always wondered what would happen to these people.

Their journey has only just begun, but they have proven to the world that they possess a brave spirit and are willing to fight for their country.

We’ll be seeing them all across Ireland as we open our doors in the coming days and weeks. These are the early days of this war.

In the conflict zones that I have visited on previous occasions, the fugitives did not return home after a short time.

I have the same fear for the brave Ukrainians I have met in the last 10 days. As I help document the plight of displaced Ukrainians, their dignity is a lesson in humility.

Fry Electronics Team

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