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Correspondent perspectives: Reporting on the war in Ukraine

  • March 06, 2022

A day after a cease-fire failed to take place in the southeastern port city of Mariupol, residents had hoped to have another chance to evacuate on Sunday. But Ukrainian officials later said planned evacuations had been halted because of an ongoing assault by Russian troops. DW’s Mathias Bölinger reports that “cease-fires are fragile and it is hard to predict what will happen.”

Kyiv, where he is based, has been preparing for the approach of Russian troops for over a week. Many civilians have been leaving, but some — particularly men — have returned to fight, Bölinger says. The atmosphere in Kyiv is “tense but calm.” Outside the capital, many areas have come under heavy fighting, he reports, but there is “no sign of an easy victory” for the Russians.

Nick Connolly describes Kyiv at night as a “ghost town.” Because of the curfew, hardly anyone is on the streets, save for journalists, police and the military. Those who have not left are trying to sit it out, spending nights in bomb shelters, he says. Although supermarkets are still open and electricity and mobile phone networks are still running, Kyiv is a “transformed city” from 10 days ago.

In the southwestern city of Chernivtsi, near the border with Romania, Fanny Facsar reports that people are relatively safe. But they wonder if their lives will return to the way it was before the Russian invasion. Many Ukrainians fleeing to Romania pass through this town in search of refuge.

Monika Sieradzka is in Przemysl, Poland, on the border to Ukraine, where some 40,000 people are arriving every day. Among those desperate to escape Ukraine are many frightened children, who have seen the horrors of war firsthand. “A new generation of European refugees carry the baggage of trauma into their new lives,” Sieradzka reports.

Along the border to Slovakia, the situation is not much different. Tessa Walther reports that hundreds and thousands of women and children have crossed into the neighboring country, leaving their men behind. “Families are trying to hold up,” she says. “Mothers are trying to shield their children from the horrible situation, but when you talk to them, you realize they are traumatized.”

Frank Hofmann and Grzegorz Szymanowski report from the Polish-Ukrainian border crossing Mediky-Shehyni, where the initial pressure has eased somewhat in the last few days. The correspondents say the daylong waits and long traffic jams witnessed at the start of the war have been significantly reduced as Polish authorities process the refugees more efficiently and volunteers arrive from around Europe to provide assistance.

You can keep up with DW’s correspondents on Twitter at @dwnews. 

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