Tears fell, hands waved and voices uttered unwanted goodbyes yet again Tuesday as the ceaseless Russian war on Ukraine forced more refugees to flee their homes.
Images captured by photographers for The Associated Press on Day 27 of the conflict reflect the pain and heartbreak of both those leaving and those left behind.
In the southern city of Odesa, a woman and her young child, both struggling not to break down, look out the window of a departing train as the woman’s grandmother, a tissue pressed up against her face, bids them goodbye from the platform. In the western city of Lviv, a bearded man places his hand up to the outside of a train window, while a young child sobs from the other side moments before they are to part from one other.
A woman who has fled Ukraine sits amid throngs of other refugees after arriving at a train station in Poland, her head in her hand and her eyes staring resignedly into space.
For many of the displaced, their first stop inside Ukraine is Lviv, a western city with a rich cultural heritage that so far has remained far from the fighting. Residents of the city have extended a warm welcome to the migrants and encouraged them to become more acquainted with their new home. On Tuesday, the Lviv National Philharmonic presented a live perfomance by a chorus in the city’s downtown. In one of the city’s bars hangs a well-used punching bag bearing the face of Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Most of the more than 3.5 million refugees fleeing Ukraine have been women and children, because men ages 18 to 60 — fighting age — are forbidden from leaving the country.
One AP photograph from Tuesday shows a camouflage-clad fighter sitting at his post in the hard-hit northeastern city of Kharkiv. A long weapon lies on his lap, and one of his hands rests near the trigger as the other brings a cigarette up to his mouth. Elsewhere in Kharkiv, several fighters can be seen lying in a row of beds with their shoes off and guns set aside, some occupied on their cellphones and others taking naps during a well-deserved break.
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