It took more than twelve hours for Ecuador’s sister Carolina and Diana Constant’s capital, Kiev, to reach the Ukrainian border with Poland, from where they departed on Thursday, February 24, 2022, after the first bombing of Russian aircraft.
“It was most necessary: some clothes, shoes, personal hygiene and some immortal food. We got in the car and drove away, “Carolina said in a telephone conversation with the EFE when they set up a one-kilometer line to cross the border with Poland.
After learning of the first military strike in Kiev on Thursday morning, neither Carolina nor Diana thought twice and headed west, just hours before the situation in the Ukrainian capital escalated as Russian forces advanced on the city.
“I think it was the most appropriate decision, because what we see on social networks is that they have already started attacking Kiev and they have destroyed a bridge. It’s probably they’re not leaving anymore. We left Kiev at 10:00 pm and they The entrance is already closed, “said Carolina.
The two sisters are part of 700 Ecuadorians living in Ukraine, most of them university students who were studying in some of the cities most affected by Russia’s intense military intervention.
“Some were able to get on the last flight three days ago, which was very expensive, but they left. Now there are no flights, almost no trains, and the roads are very congested, “said Carolina, who recently graduated with a master’s degree in international relations.
Food and petrol are scarce
On the way there are many people who have tried to reach Poland, including other Latin American citizens like several Colombians who have met on the way, as well as African immigrants from countries like Nigeria.
However, as the hours go by, supplies are running low, as they have already verified that “gas stations are running out of food and running out of petrol, because there are places where there is no more petrol,” warned Carolina, who travels further with her son.
“It simply came to our notice then. Banks are not paying because they are closed. At ATMs alone you can withdraw a maximum of 3,000 hryvnia (100 100) per day, “he lamented.
Neither Carolina nor Diana have been able to process the level of the moment they are still experiencing, as they have indicated that life in Kiev was normal until the day before the Russian invasion began.
“I thought nothing would happen. Everything was speculation and news, but we never thought that the President of Russia was going to take these steps. It surprised us all, “said Carolina.
Wait more than eight hours
At the time of the last communication, the two Ecuadorian sisters waited for more than eight hours in a long line of cars wanting to go to Poland, a move made in a team of ten cars.
His plan is to reach Warsaw, a city where the Ecuadorian government has sent diplomats to serve Ecuadorians who want to leave Ukraine and facilitate their transit through Europe.
In the case of these sisters, once they enter Poland, their purpose is to take a flight to Spain, where the Consular Mission in Ecuador guarantees them a 15-day stay.
They will then evaluate whether they will return to Ecuador or stay in Spain, as there are also relatives who can host them while waiting to follow up on events in Ukraine.
All Ecuadorians in Ukraine were unable to evacuate as soon as possible and had to stay at home or at the subway station with the rest of the local population to seek refuge from the bombing.