Efforts to help Ukrainians adjust to a new normal

Josh Einiger Image
Sunday, May 1, 2022
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Josh Einiger has more from Poland.

POLAND (WABC) -- In a tiny village called Medika sits the busiest border crossing between Poland and Ukraine.

It is where an endless stream of people still walk across, then through a makeshift support center before loading on buses to their next stop.

Matt Ryan has been volunteering there for two months. He is an EMT from Ireland and is using his training to procure equipment for medics like him in hard-hit Eastern Ukraine.

Ryan spends his free time in Medika, listening to stories of Russian depravity that would make your blood boil.

"I talked to a lady, her brother was shot in front of her in Kharkiv. She wasn't crying or upset - she just walked on. I couldn't even. What do you say to that?" said Ryan.

Ryan came from Ireland, and William Miller came from Florida - he hands out things like toothpaste.

"For someone who left everything behind, their life is in a bag, it makes a big difference being able to have that kind of stuff just given to them without having to worry about having to find it," added Miller.

They are among the countless international volunteers working to support incoming refugees - even as some have already started to return to Ukraine.

As far as the eye can see, the Poland side of the vehicle crossing is jammed with traffic.

Three miles of families who fled - areas now liberated from the Russians. Refugees are eager to return to homes they hope are still there.

Artem Zorinis, 16, is an outlier in this group. He is heading back to Melitopol, in the southeast, which is now under Russian control. He is terrified for what he will find when he gets there, and he can't understand what Vladimir Putin could possibly want with the land Zorinis calls home.

"He wants more territory, I don't understand why. They are stupid, really stupid - it's very terrible," Zorinis said.

One fear from some aid workers is that people around the world will see images of Ukrainians returning and think the crisis is over, but hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians are still trapped in direct conflict in the nation's east.

The fighting is only getting worse.

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