The roots of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine go back decades and run deep. The current conflict is more than one country taking over another; it is — in the words of one U.S. official — a shift in “the world order.”
Here are some helpful resources to make sense of it all.
Millions have fled Ukraine, with many coming to Poland through Przemyśl’s main train station. Omar Marques/Getty Images hide caption
Millions have fled Ukraine, with many coming to Poland through Przemyśl’s main train station.
PRZEMYŚL, Poland — As millions leave Ukraine to escape the Russian invasion, one woman’s checklist for surviving the train ride into Poland reveals the desperation and struggle that awaits those who try to flee.
Inna Grynova was in a rural part of western Ukraine when Russia began its troop buildup. She had been anxiously waiting for the moment an attack might start, and then, on the morning of Feb. 24, it began.
“I woke up to a call from my parents. And the first thing that I heard from them was ‘Enough. Putin has attacked Ukraine. Run away,'” she told NPR.
Inna Grynova waits at Lviv train station among a sea of people trying to escape the war. Inna Grynova hide caption
Inna Grynova waits at Lviv train station among a sea of people trying to escape the war.
Grynova’s brother offered to drive from Kyiv with his family to pick her up, but as the planes stopped flying and panic set in, the roads became jammed.
What would normally be a half-day trip from Kyiv to the countryside ended up taking three days. It took eight hours just to leave the city. They eventually reached her at 2 a.m. on Feb. 27 — three days after the invasion began.
At first, the plan was to drive their car across the border, but the lines were growing and it was taking two days just to cross. Then came the news: Ukrainian men ages 18-60 would not be allowed to leave.
“My brother was immediately out of eligibility to cross, and he was our driver,” Grynova said. “He was suggesting that, OK, maybe I give you my car and you girls will try on your own. But I told him that he needs the car much more than we do.”
Instead, Grynova made her way to Lviv train station in western Ukraine with her niece, her sister-in-law and her sister-in-law’s mother to catch the evacuation train into Poland.
Most families arriving in Przemyśl, Poland, then make their way on to another city farther from the border. Omar Marques/Getty Images hide caption
Most families arriving in Przemyśl, Poland, then make their way on to another city farther from the border.
What followed was a grueling 24-hour journey.
In an effort to help those who would come after her, Grynova wrote a detailed account of the trip and outlined exactly what to expect.
“It was like a life hack post,” she said. “Like, this is how to survive and how to bring your family to safety.”
Below is a translated and lightly edited version of her account.
The crush Inna Grynova sees as the train arrives. Inna Grynova hide caption
The crush Inna Grynova sees as the train arrives.
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