2.3 million Ukrainians have fled the war, and many buses come to Norway daily. For many refugees, the road crosses the border into Poland.
– I have a Dream. I want a house in Karmoy, 20-year-old Diana Poltavic tells NTB at the refugee reception center in Przemysl in Poland.
Her mother and brothers had been waiting for the bus to take them to Norway for three days. In the past week, several buses have driven into Norway from this particular reception.
NTB has set the stage for many of those who come this way.
1. Lviv, Ukraine.
For many Ukrainians, the road leaves the country through Lviv. The city in western Ukraine has so far escaped attacks in the war, but shelling was reported on Friday night.
The border with Poland is about 85 kilometers away, and many people travel there by bus, car and train.
Poland has received the majority of war refugees from Ukraine, but other neighboring countries are also seeing a large refugee influx.
2. The border crossing.
The border crossing at Medica is one of the busiest in Poland since the start of the war, and traffic jams for fleeing often run tens of kilometers long.
Refugees passing by are met by soldiers who help them with their belongings. Along the first 100 meters in Poland, a number of aid organizations are standing by and distributing food, equipment, clothes and other things they may need. They are then taken by bus to a nearby reception, or to train stations or other cities in Poland.
This is also the case at many other border crossings.
3. The reception center.
In the Polish city of Przemysl, close to the border, an abandoned shopping center has been converted into a reception center for refugees, with several rooms filled with camp beds. Many relief organizations are present, health services are being provided and food is being distributed. From here, buses carrying new refugees constantly arrive.
– We gather those who are interested in Norway in Room No. 12. There are many who have relatives, friends and acquaintances who are acquainted until they have heard of Norway. Then there are some who don’t know where they’re going, but we say we have a bus to Norway, and so are happy to say they want to join, says Stian Eliassen from Stavanger to NTB.
He has been at the front desk for the last few days helping with sending buses to Norway. There are regular buses to other cities in Poland, Europe and Norway.
Diana Poltavits, 20, fled from a small town in the Poltava region of Ukraine with her brother, sister and mother. For the past three days, I have helped as a volunteer at the front desk, while they were waiting for the bus to Norway.
– Most of the people in the room are women with children. I think they know something about Norway, because most people will visit friends or family.
This also applies to itself. A family friend is in Haugesund and has visited twice.
– I love the country so much. I have a Dream. I want a house in Karmoy. It’s really beautiful, I love it. She says nature is very beautiful.
But most of all she wants to return to Ukraine – preferably as soon as possible. The father had to stay in the country while the rest of the family left.
– It’s hard to divide the family. It is difficult to leave his homeland. I am a patriot, I love my country Ukraine. I will be back when this is over. When can we celebrate Victory Day? I hope it will be soon.
4. Bus tour.
Buses run to various places in Norway, but many run to the National Arrival Center in Råde or the Refugee Reception Center in Helsfyr in Oslo.
Receptions are also now being held in other parts of the country. Diana’s family was taken all the way to Haugesund, after most of the other people on the bus had gotten off at Helsfyr.
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