More than 500,000 have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded

More than 500,000 have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded with the figure set to double to a MILLION within days, officials warn as freezing refugees flood to the Polish border to escape war

  • More than 500,000 people have fled war torn Ukraine with that figure expected to rise to a million by Friday
  • Thousands of mainly women and children have been uprooted from their homes after Russia invaded Ukraine
  • The majority, almost 300,000, have come into Poland via eight checkpoints set up along the 300-mile border
  • Ukrainians have been fleeing their homeland since Thursday when Russia launched an invasion of the country

More than 500,000 people have fled war torn Ukraine since Russia invaded last week with officials saying the figure will jump to a million by Friday.

Using cars, trains, buses and even walking the last few miles on foot, thousands of mainly women and children have been uprooted from their homes.

The majority, almost 300,000, have come into Poland via eight checkpoints set up along the 300-mile border with Ukraine.

Most have come in via the towns of Korczowa and Medyka with reception centres being set up in schools and shopping outlets for arrivals.

A school in the nearby town of Przemysl has also been converted into a temporary shelter with camp beds lined up in place where students would be playing basketball or sitting exams.

Kind-hearted locals have donated so much food, toiletries, blankets and clothes that officials have asked people to stop bringing items so they can be sorted and distributed elsewhere in Poland.

More than 500,000 people have fled war torn Ukraine since Russia invaded last week with officials saying the figure will jump to a million by Friday (pictured, Ukrainians arrive in Poland on a humanitarian train from Lviv)

Using cars, trains, buses and even walking the last few miles on foot, thousands of mainly women and children have been uprooted from their homes (pictured, a woman hugs a child at a temporary camp in Przemysl, Poland, after fleeing over the border)

More than 500,000 people have fled war torn Ukraine since Russia invaded last week with officials saying the figure will jump to a million by Friday (pictured, people board bus bound for a refugee centre established in Przemysl, Poland)

People wait on a platform after arriving with a Ukrainian train transporting hundreds of people fleeing from the Russian invasion, at the train station in Przemysl, Poland

A school in the nearby town of Przemysl has also been converted into a temporary shelter with camp beds lined up in place where students would be playing basketball or sitting exams

Kind-hearted locals have donated so much food, toiletries, blankets and clothes that officials have asked people to stop bringing items so they can be sorted and distributed elsewhere in Poland

More than 500,000 people, mainly women and children, (pictured in Poland) have fled war torn Ukraine since Russia invaded last week with officials saying the figure will jump to a million by Friday

Emergency service personnel in Poland held Ukrainian women and children off a bus after they fled the war torn country after Russia invaded last week

Polish military personnel prepare to help Ukrainian refugees arriving in the country following the Russian invasion last week


Ukrainian refugees Helen Rudyk, 17, her mother Lubo, 36, (pictured together, right) and Anastasia, 14, (left alone and right, with her sister and mother) with their dog Marsik. The family were heading for Lithuania, where her father a truck driver was waiting for them

Also waiting at the reception centre the MailOnline found Nadiia Boichuk and her husband Renaldas Rimkus (pictured) waiting for their children Yanna, 13, and Anna, eight, and her mother Lubov, 56 

People fleeing Russian invasion of Ukraine, rest at a temporary accommodation centre, in Korczowa. Most of the refugees have come in via the town of Korczowa with reception centres being set up in schools and shopping outlets for arrivals

MailOnline reporter Nick Pisa (pictured on the Poland-Ukraine border) met one family who had just arrived at the reception centre in Korczowa after being bussed in from the border after spending the night there following an 18 hour bus journey from their home 400 miles away in Kirovograd

Arrivals are given a meal and a welcoming hot drink after temperatures at the border crossings plunged to minus 5c overnight with many having to wait in the open.

Local media has reported several people being taken to hospitals in the Polish border towns suffering from the effects of the bone numbing temperatures.

Those coming across at Medyka and Korcowza have told of waiting more than 24 hours before being allowed in with trafficking tailing back more than 20 miles into Ukraine.

Michal Mielniczuk, spokesperson, for the Podkarpackie region, told MailOnline: ‘We have set up six reception centres at the rail station in Przemysl and also in a school and a shopping outlet and after more than a day waiting they just want to rest and eat.

‘These places are meant for a short period of stay as many are going on to join family and friends elsewhere. We have seen more than 300,000 come into Poland since the war started but we are prepared to see that number rise to a million within the next few days.

‘The centres are able to accept them and we have been flooded with donations from people, so much so we have asked them to stop while we sort out a plan to distribute items elsewhere in Poland.

‘Those that have nowhere to go will be housed in centres and private accommodation across Poland but we expect the vast majority to move on elsewhere and stay with friends and family.’

People who have fled the Russian invasion in Ukraine wait to board a bus bound for a refugee centre established in Przemysl, Poland

A toddler is fed by his sister after arriving in Przemysl, Poland, on a train transporting hundreds of people fleeing from the Russian invasion of Ukraine

A woman holds a baby as Ukrainian citizens arrive at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing fleeing the conflict in their country, into eastern Poland

Emergency service personnel in Poland held Ukrainian women and children off a bus after they fled the war torn country after Russia invaded last week

Using cars, trains, buses and even walking the last few miles on foot, thousands of mainly women and children have been uprooted from their homes (pictured, 

Polish military personnel prepare to help Ukrainian refugees arriving in the country following the Russian invasion last week

Emergency service personnel in Poland held Ukrainian women and children off a bus after they fled the war torn country after Russia invaded last week

Ukrainian citizens are seen arriving at the Medyka pedestrian border crossing to eastern Poland after fleeing the Russian-waged conflict in their country

Most Ukrainian refugees have come in via the towns of Korczowa and Medyka (pictured) with reception centres being set up in schools and shopping outlets for arrivals

Men fleeing the conflict carry their suitcases on their heads past queuing cars as they walk towards the Medyka-Shehyni border crossing between Ukraine and Poland

The Ukrainian city of Lviv is just 50 miles from the border and where many refugees have gathered before making the final push towards Poland (pictured, Medyka border crossing in eastern Poland)

Piotr Zakielarz, a spokesperson for the Polish border force covering the two towns told the MailOnline, more than 138,000 had come over from Medyka and Korczowa, as well as two other points in his patch.

The Ukrainian city of Lviv is just 50 miles from the border and where many refugees have gathered before making the final push towards Poland.

Mr Zakielarz told MailOnline: ‘We have increased the number of officers checking passports and the process time is now just a couple of minutes but we know to get over from Ukraine the lines stretch back many kilometres.

‘People have been waiting for more than 24 hours in some cases and the numbers we are seeing are rising daily. 

‘Many that come across are just using Poland as a transit point, they are heading elsewhere to Europe to friends in family, many are going to Germany and the Czech Republic so they are not asking for asylum.’

MailOnline met one family who had just arrived at the reception centre in Korczowa after being bussed in from the border after spending the night there following an 18 hour bus journey from their home 400 miles away in Kirovograd.

Student Helen Rudyk, 17, was with her mother Lubo, 36, and sister Anastasia, 14, as well as their dog Marsik. They were heading for Lithuania, where her father a truck driver was waiting for them.

Helen said: ‘When we left it was quiet in my hometown but on the bus on the way to Lviv we heard explosions and gunshots. We leave near a military academy and it was targeted by the Russians, it wasn’t safe to stay so we decided to leave and try and reach my father in Lithuania. 

‘I’m very proud of how our Ukrainian army is fighting for our country how President Zelensky is defending us any way he can. ‘Vladimir Putin started all this in 2014 but he won’t win because we have the backing of the world.’

A boy fleeing Russian invasion of Ukraine plays after arriving at a temporary accommodation centre, in Korczowa, Poland, on Sunday

Ukrainian refugees cry as they reunite at the Medyka border crossing in Poland on Saturday after fleeing their homeland when Russia invaded last week

People wait for family members to arrive from Ukraine at the Medyka border crossing in Poland, days after Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the country sparked a mass migration out of the country

People who have fled the Russian invasion in Ukraine, wait to board a bus bound for a refugee centre established in Przemysl, in Medyka, Poland, on Monday

People who have fled the Russian invasion in Ukraine wait to board a bus bound for a refugee centre established in Przemysl, in Poland

Refugee children fleeing the conflict in Ukraine hold toys given to them after arriving at the Medyka border crossing in Poland. The UN has estimated the conflict could produce as many as 4 million refugees

Refugees fleeing conflict in Ukraine arrive at the Medyka border crossing in Poland on Monday, five days after Russia launched an invasion of their home country

A woman carries her child as she arrives at the Medyka border crossing after fleeing from the Ukraine, in Poland, on Monday

Also waiting at the reception centre the MailOnline found Nadiia Boichuk and her husband Renaldas Rimkus waiting for their children Yanna, 13, and Anna, eight, and her mother Lubov, 56.

The couple had moved to Hammersmith, west London, six years ago where she is an assistant manager at Holland & Barrett. 

Holding back tears Nadiia explained how her mum and children had fled their home at Ivan-Frankivisk after the airport was hit by a Russian missile strike with her dad driving them to the border before returning.

Nadiia added: ‘They were in the car for almost two days and the food and water they had with them had run out. They are now in the queue waiting to be allowed into Poland. 

‘I’ve had to send pictures of their passports to my mother’s phone because their documents were at the British Embassy in Kiev waiting for visas, we are just hoping they will be allowed in.

‘The whole thing has been terrifying but work said to drop everything and come here to sort the children out. 

‘What I am worried about now though is my father, I just don’t know what will happen if the Russians get to where he is. I can’t bear to think about it.’

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