Blinken listens to the harrowing stories of refugees fleeing Ukraine

After visiting the Korczowa welcome center, Blinken briefly visited Ukraine to meet Dmytro Kuleba, Foreign Minister.

Blinken listens to the harrowing stories of refugees fleeing Ukraine

KORCZOWA (Poland) -- On Saturday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited a Polish welcome center in Korczowa. It was once a shopping mall. Near the Ukrainian border, approximately 3,000 refugees have taken refuge after the Russian invasion.

Later, Blinken crossed the border to meet Dmytro Kuleba the Foreign Minister of Ukraine. He predicted that Russia would defeat, but he appealed to for more military support to reduce the death toll.

America's top diplomat heard the heartbreaking stories of mothers and children at the refugee centre. They described the perilous journeys they had taken, as well as the shock and fear of being suddenly disrupted and threatened with their lives after fleeing war-ravaged areas.

Venera Ahmadi (12 years old) said that bombs were heard near her home. She said that she was there with her sister and six dogs and seven cats, from Kyiv (the capital of Ukraine), which is more than 600 km (372 miles). "We walked to get to the border for hours, I don’t know how long. We crossed the border by foot.

Jasmine, Jasmine's 16-year-old younger sister, stated that she was afraid she would die.

Natalia Kadygrob (48), reached the center along with her four adopted children Kropyvnytskyi. They traveled almost 800 kms (about 500 miles) in bus to get to their brother's house in Germany. Her husband stayed behind.

She said, "They bombed the planes at the airport." "Of course we were afraid."

Tatyana, 58, didn't want to give her last name. She was with Anna, 37, her 6-year-old daughter, and Kira, her 1-year-old daughter. They traveled from Kharkiv about 1,000 km (621 miles). Tatyana stated that "they were shooting on the streets." Anna claimed that her house had been hit by a bomb or a rocket.

Anna was with her daughters in the basement when the explosion occurred. Anna stated, "They should be at school." "They are not children. They don't understand."

Blinken met Kuleba at the Korczowa border crossing, where Polish authorities escorted small numbers of refugees (about 20 at a stretch) across the frontier to Krakovets in Ukraine.

Groups of mostly elderly and children, mostly women, made their way to makeshift processing centres set up in tents on Polish territory.

According to the foreign minister, he was trying to communicate a simple message. "Ukraine will conquer this war because it is the people's battle for their land, and we defend the correct course." He also said, "The price is our victory, that is the question."

Kubela stated that Ukraine's allies should "continue to make bold, systemic decisions in order to increase economic and political pressure (on) Russia), if they continue providing us with the necessary weapons, then the price will be lower." This will help save many lives in Ukraine.

Blinken thanked President Volodmyr Zelenskyy, Kuleba and all other officials for their "inspiring" leadership and courage during the crisis. He stated that support for Ukraine would rise and Russia would be under pressure to stop the war.

Kuleba thanked Blinken, but stated that Ukraine needs more support if its predicted victory is not too costly. On Friday, he lamented the fact that NATO had rejected requests from Ukraine and other non-members to establish a no fly zone over Ukraine.

Kuleba stated that "We are in the phase now where maybe saying No, we’re not going to do this,’ but the time will come." It's all about price. The people of Ukraine will be the ones to pay for NATO's inaction.



 

Blinken was earlier in Rzeszow to meet with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, and Zbigniew Rau, a day after attending the NATO foreign ministers meeting in Brussels. To counter the Russian invasion, the alliance promised to increase support for its eastern flank members like Poland. Poland seeks more U.S. troops on its territory, which currently has more than 10,000 American troops.

Rau stated that Poland has already accepted more than 700,000. Ukrainian refugees and that hundreds of thousands more will be added in the weeks ahead if Russia does not back down.

He stated that Poland would not recognize territorial changes caused by unprovoked and unlawful aggression. His country will also demand that any alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine be tried.

Blinken and Morawiecki discussed increasing sanctions and freezing assets against Russia. Morawiecki stated that this should be "crushing for" Russia's economy. He said that no Russian bank should be exempted by the SWIFT system exclusions. All but the biggest Russian banks have been expelled from the financial messaging system.

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