Our report on the Palanka border

By Simon Santi

Where Ukrainians come home

The couch borders peace and war. Moldova’s southeastern border is a branch of the conflict, surrounded by Crimea to the east and south and Transnistria to the north, another self-proclaimed independent and openly pro-Russian republic. From here, by car or on foot, depending on the possibility, Ukrainians from Odessa, Kherson, Mykolive have been fleeing for weeks in search of refuge from the bombing. A stream that, however, in recent days, if not reversed, must have been the same: for the hundreds of people who cross the passage from east to west, at least many have begun to do it in the opposite direction. The Ukrainians, especially those from Odessa, an hour’s drive away, hopefully go home. Some explain for a short time (“We go to retrieve clothes, documents, when we run away we leave everything”) a family consisting of a mother, two children, and even a house cat, waiting patiently in a long line of cars for a check. Time to do); Others are sure, partly out of optimism, partly out of necessity: “The Russians are not moving forward, the situation is better now – says one man who fled Ukraine in the early days of the invasion when there were still no men. Obligation to stay home – and then I run out of money “I have to go back to work.” News is coming in from those who were at home – and from some of the journalists at the scene – that the Russians did not break down: must reach Odessa from the east, who are still trapped in Mykolive, where fighting is taking place, or in Kherson (the first town falls to the Russians, who Now losing ground), not so easy: usually Odessa-Mykolaiv can be traveled in just two hours at the moment – taxi drivers on the spot explained to us on the phone – “12 requirements because the official route is dangerous, must use an alternative route”. But from Odessa, where the climate is tense but not warlike, the journey to Moldova is easy, and so the arrival and departure of both senses is still intense. At least for Ukrainians, border controls are relaxed: both inside and outside of your passport, take a look at your passport and depending on the direction you are inside or outside. Then, for those on foot, there are minibuses: from there, the population has organized itself to travel to and from Odessa; Hundreds of meters away, there is already the first refugee reception center, run by UNHCR, UNICEF: hot tea or coffee, some extra clothing, first medical screening for those in need, and then we leave immediately. The Italians of Intersos also include: “We provide medical assistance to those who cannot be treated by Moldovan health services – Daniela explains – and they are the majority, because to access it you have to apply for protection but very few people want to be here” There are relatives or friends who, in fact, ask to be loaded onto buses directly to Romania at Iasi, 20 kilometers from Moldova, provided by the Romanian government; Or beyond, especially in Germany, the most requested destination

Italy is far away, not solidarity

Far from the southeastern border between Italy, Moldova and Ukraine, from which Crimean residents flee the war zones, those who, despite everything, still have not lost hope that the war will last any longer, especially after the recent change in Vladimir Putin’s strategy and Originally announced to be willing to concentrate on Donbass, and so left very quickly to be able to return to their home soon: a bus with 50 people from Romania was operated by us two days ago, but it took a few days to get there. On the other hand, transit from Palanka is going on non-stop. But if Italy is far away, the Italian presence is felt in Moldova. Outside Chisinau, a 500-seat field was built for donated material from the provinces of Trento and Alto Adidas; In the city, at the Moldexpo facilities, next to the beautiful area of ​​Park-Aventura Lake (a godsend for minors to escape), the UN refugee office has provided another shelter for families. Aurelia, Moldovan, of UNHCR, explained that “at the moment we have about 500 people, a maximum capacity of one thousand, but the flow has been large since the beginning of the war.” She is the one with the Baobab Experience and the Italian volunteers at JNRC, who came here to bring humanitarian aid to a clothing warehouse in the city, and with them personally chose the most essential items for the many children’s clothing at the center. Other donations go to a group of local volunteers, identified thanks to Marco, an Italian who has lived in Chisinau for 30 years after relocating a Moldovan woman: milk, biscuits, tea. And lots of sugar: The Moldovan government provides free food, but sugar is considered a non-essential product. Almost a joke in such a bitter situation already. (March 29)

(© 9Colonne – cite source)

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