Despite growing fears, calm prevails at the border between Ukraine and Poland

Tensions are rising in Ukraine’s east, and Western leaders warn of a larger war. However, calm continues along Ukraine's western border to the European Union country Poland.

Despite growing fears, calm prevails at the border between Ukraine and Poland

The border is surrounded by a small Polish community that has a sports center with Olympic rings painted on it. This facility can be used to shelter Ukrainian refugees. The center in Medyka remains empty at the moment. There is no sign that any Ukrainians are fleeing at the border crossing nearby.

Many Ukrainians do the opposite. They cross the border into Ukraine from Poland after shopping or working in Poland. Some defiantly swear to defend their country in the event of a Russian invasion .

Volodymyr Halyk (29), stated that Russia expected people to panic and flee Europe to buy food and buckwheat, but instead they bought machine guns, weapons, and cartridges. "No one is afraid. No one will leave their homes. No one will flee.

Halyk and Volodymyr Yaermakov, a friend, said they were veterans of the war against Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine that began in 2014. Yermakov (34), said he was ready to take arms again if Russian President Vladimir Putin invades.

He said that Putin is an aggressor who does not permit anyone to lead a normal lifestyle. They want to seize our territory and that is the truth.

Although Russia denies plans to invade Ukraine in any way, Western officials claim that there are approximately 150,000 troops and equipment surrounded by the country on all three sides. An attack could occur at any moment.

People in Poland, which was ruled by Moscow during the Cold War are watching with concern the news about Russia's military buildup. Last year, the Polish government was embroiled in a dispute over migration with Belarus, a Russian ally.

The European Union and Poland accused Belarus of helping people from the Middle East cross the border to Poland. The Polish government called migration part of a hybrid war that aims to destabilize central Europe and the EU.

Mariusz Gumienny is the chairman of the Medyka town council. He said that the thousands of additional U.S. troops have helped to maintain a sense security.

He said, "It calms down the mood."

In recent weeks, the U.S. sent nearly 5,000 additional troops to Poland. These troops are in addition to the 4,000 rotational troops that the U.S. sent after Russian actions against Ukraine in 2014. American soldiers are there to provide security for NATO ally Poland, and to assist in the evacuation of U.S citizens or Ukrainians if necessary.

Gumienny says that local residents are ready to assist Ukrainians in an emergency situation where tensions with Russia escalate to a wider conflict. Gumienny says that people are also concerned about the possibility of a surge in arrivals or wider instability from a prolonged conflict in Ukraine.

"There is no panic. It is not possible to see people trying to protect themselves in any other way. One thing remains in my mind, however: What will happen if there is a flood of Ukrainian refugees? Gumienny said Saturday that this is what people fear the most.

Poland is one the EU's easternmost members. Many Poles believe that membership in these organizations provides a lot of protection from Russia. Putin is trying to assert Russia's authority over a region he feels should be returned to Moscow's sphere.

Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated this week that a free and sovereign Ukraine was in Poland's national interest. Poland has also prepared a plan to assist any Ukrainians fleeing, and is sending defensive weapons to its neighbor.

Morawiecki, a Polish security expert, said Saturday at a Munich conference that Poland intends to send more weapons and support Ukraine. Morawiecki said that he believes the West has long ignored Russia's efforts to restore its power in the region, but is now becoming more aware of the danger to Europe as a whole.

Halyk, one among the Ukrainians who vowed to defend his homeland had his own warnings for Europe.

He said, "Remember, the last Ukrainian soldier will die, it will be your turn." "That is why it is important to unite. We have a common goal. You can even call it a common enemy. They will always want more and are bloodthirsty. They will not let anyone live in peace."

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