3rd March, 2022

People huddle around fires outside Lviv train station through the night to try and stay warm.

We approached Lviv train station car park and planned our exit strategy. Will had a one-hour sleep as I filled up on more polish sausage in the warmth of the car heater.

I woke Will up as he started to snore and we hit the streets at 5am, wandering around, shooting images and exploring what the scope was here. Most of the shops were closed, except for a few who had barrier tape over all over the alcohol shelves. I guess martial law was not a time to drink, although we had thought a nice bottle of red would have been welcomed as a micro celebration of getting through and into Lviv. Anyway, this was not feasible and instead we moved onwards to the station.

There was some organisation going on in the station. Huts, volunteers, tents with tea and food and shelter for all of the fleeing refugees. It was very orderly in fact, considering the large number of dispersed people waiting and waiting… 40 gallon drums were blazing to keep people warm. A few battled and hardened faces amidst as many people had arrived to Lviv having fled places such as Kyiv and the other war-stricken towns that I can’t spell for the life of me…

We entered the train station to get bearings and to set up a meeting point for Yuliya’s cousin and niece so that we could be organised for the 7am train she was coming on.

Pictured: Dan (right) with Yulia’s cousin and niece — who had t say goodbye to their partner/father who had to stay behind (adult men are not allowed to leave Ukraine without an exemption).

Will went into journalist mode and pitched me a spiel about what was eventuating right here in front of us. It was a devastating sight, seeing the lost souls that were uncertain as to why they were fleeing and what they had done to deserve having to leave their life behind and flee to an unknown location, with nothing other than a backpack (if they were lucky).

Families, fathers feeling useless and unable to protect their young ones, forced to stay behind as their wives and children leave so they can return to the front line or head back home and wait for a call to join the forces.

An uneasy moment in life that no one should ever wish to be in and I hope this is extinguished tomorrow…

Read more about the whole mission, from Will’s perspective, here.





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