‘Frontiers of Hope’: Vatican News travels to meet refugees fleeing Ukraine
By Vatican News
(Updates at the top)
8:30am (17 March)
Cardinal Michael Czerny visits a reception point run by Malteser Aid Slovakia for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion.
7:00pm (16 March)
Cardinal Michael Czerny visits the city of Uzhhorod, in western Ukraine, and takes part in a prayer service for peace in the city's Cathedral.
10:30am (16 March)
Cardinal Michael Czerny, acting Prefect of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, departs from Rome on Wednesday, reprising his role as Pope Francis' envoy to people fleeing the war in Ukraine.
Accompanied by Vatican News' Fr. Petr Vacik, SJ, the Cardinal is traveling to express support for refugees in Slovakia.
1:10pm (15 March)
Caritas Krakow is welcoming Ukrainian refugees at the city's main train station, offering them food and a place to rest after fleeing their homeland.
12:30pm (15 March)
Mayor Andriy Sadovyi of Lviv speaks about the massive refugee exodus caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the efforts he is taking to provide assistance for the tens of thousands fleeing the war.
9:15am (14 March)
Fr. Marcin Schmidt leads a mission from the "Misericordie d'Italia" Association to the Poland-Ukraine border to bring aid to Ukrainian refugees.
8:30am (14 March)
Luca Collodi and Franco Piroli, two Vatican News correspondents, travel with the "Misericordie d'Italia" Association to the Poland-Ukraine border.
8:15pm (13 March)
Eduard Heger, the Prime Minister of Slovakia, speaks about the amount of Ukrainian refugees arriving each day, and about his desire to speak to Pope Francis about the situation in Ukraine on Monday morning.
10:00am (12 March)
Svetlana, a Ukrainian student of medicine, describes how she fled her hometown of Vinnytsia, via a bus from Chernivtsi, and arrived in Italy, where she hopes to continue her studies.
10:50am (11 March)
Oleg and Olena became refugees in a foreign land after they fled their home in Odessa.
Speaking to Jean Charles Putzolu in Oradea, Romania, Olena expresses her love for Pope Francis and her gratitude for his support for the Ukrainian people. She also thanks Major Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, the head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, for his outspoken appeals for an end to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
9:30am (11 March)
Nadjeida, an 81-year-old Ukrainian lady, who, along with some family members, was forced to flee her home in Kyiv in search of safety.
4:40pm (10 March)
Tatiana from Ternopil, Ukraine, joins her voice to growing calls for dialogue on the path to peace, saying that problems can be solved by words and not by war.
3:30pm (10 March)
The reports from Ukraine paint a grim picture of devastation and destruction. Evgenia expresses her concern for family members who remain behind in Kyiv, as well as for those who cannot leave the country.
Aid workers welcome Ukrainian refugees who arrive at the border town of Sighet, Romania.
6:00pm (9 March)
Vatican News' team of correspondents, on the borders of Ukraine to meet the refugees and tell their stories, speak to a refugee from the city of Kharkiv who has just arrived in the Romanian border town of Sighet (Sighetu Marmației)
3:30pm (9 March)
Arrival in Sighetu, on Romania's northern border with Ukraine
8:30am (9 March)
Departure from Siret for Sighet (Sighetu Marmatiei), following the northern border of Romania further west. We aim to cover 270km in 5 hours. The city has more than 40,000 inhabitants and is right on the border with Ukraine.
5:20pm (8 March)
Among many the refugees arriving from Ukraine at the border point of Siret (Romania), in the north-east of the country. Many of them have expressed the feeling of safety in having arrived on EU territory.
4:00pm (8 March)
Siret (Romania), visit to the reception centre for refugees from Ukraine run by the Diocesan Caritas of Iași.
3:45pm (8 March)
We have arrived in Siret, 5 km from the border between Romania and Ukraine. Almost 90,000 people have arrived here from Ukraine in recent days. We visited a reception centre for refugees run by the Diocesan Caritas of Iași. Siret is a small town of just over 9,000 inhabitants, bathed by the river of the same name, which runs for 700 kilometres before joining the Danube. It was also a Catholic diocesan centre between 1371 and 1434, thanks to the missions of first the Franciscans and then the Dominicans.
1:00pm (8 March)
After crossing the border into Moldavia, we have entered Romania, travelling towards Siret, under heavy snowfall. The temperature outside is around zero degrees. We will be travelling 170 kilometres in around three hours.
11:00am (8 March)
We are currently queuing, along with with many other cars, many surely carrying refugees from Ukraine, at Sculeni, on the border between Moldova and Romania.
8.30am (8 March)
We leave Chișinău and Moldova and travel to Romania. There, too, we will visit a reception point just over the border with Ukraine, in Siret, in the north east of the country, run by the Diocesan Caritas of Iași. A few kilometres away, in Ukraine, across the Porubne border, is the small town of Terebleche.
8:30am (8 March)
Our correspondents are traveling from Moldova into Romania, where they will visit refugee centres near the border with Ukraine.
10:00pm (7 March)
Still on the Moldovan border town of Palanca, our correspondent Jean-Charles Putzolu speaks to 44 year-old Vladenia who has fled Odessa with her mother. She speaks of their fears: having no plan, having to contacts or friends in other European countries, leaving everything behind, not knowing where they will be in three days, whether they will find a way to obtain the medication they need, who will accept them and who will reject them.
8:00pm (7 March)
Ukrainian refugees arrive in the Moldovan border town of Palanca, as they seek safety from the Russian invasion of their homeland.
5:00pm (7 March)
Cardinal Konrad Krajewski, the Papal Almoner, visits Ukrainian refugees camped out in Przemysl in Poland, where trains from Kyiv and Lviv arrive.
2:30pm (7 March)
Refugees from Ukraine arrive in Palanca en masse and on foot in sub-zero temperatures.
1:00pm (7 March)
The United Nations says more than 1.5 million people have fled the violence and chaos in Ukraine to neighbouring countries. Among them is Helena who fled Kyiv, who spoke to our correspondent Jean-Charles Putzolu in Moldova. Helena says the situation is very dangerous in Kyiv and many have been killed. Flats in her appartment building were on fire when she escaped, and attacks on appartment blocks are increasingly common. She says a hospital in Kyiv caring for children with cancer was attacked. All hope and pray for an end to the violence. Her goal is to get to Romania, as far from the instability as possible.
12:00am (7 March)
"We do not know now what is happening in Ukraine, because the TV is not working, but it is a disaster there: they are shooting, they are bombing, children are dying, civilians are dying in the houses, because the artillery is hitting the houses. It is a disaster! Moldova has welcomed us very well, may God give them much health, I will pray for them all my life. The people are very good. Thank you to everyone who welcomed us so well." (Lidia and Valentina, Ukrainians welcomed in Romania)
10:00 am (7 March) Chișinău, Moldova
Thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the ongoing hostilities are in need of humanitarian support. A volunteer at the Romania-Moldova border explains that she has been there for days providing help for those in need to make them "feel like they are home."
Anna from Odessa shares her experience of leaving her home and heading for Moldova, enduring the long journey together with little kids. She hopes that one day she will be able to return back to family members and friends left behind in Ukraine.
11:50 PM (6 March):
In the Carpathian Mountains. In the evening, arrival in Chisinau, Moldova, at a reception center where Ukrainian families are hosted.
7:00 AM (6 March):
The journey resumes, departure from Oradea, in Romania, destination Chisinau, in Moldova. Arrival around 7 PM.
6 :00PM (5 March):
Our journey "On the Frontiers of Hope" continues. We are now in Hungary.
6:30 am - Rome:
Our correspondents, Alessandro Guarasci, Fr Adrian Danka, and Jean-Charles Putzolu departed on Saturday headed for Oradea, in Romania. On Sunday they will reach Chișinău, capital of the Republic of #Moldova, where Ukrainians fleeing the ferocity of war are arriving. Their journey through central Europe will bring them into contact with Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s invasion of their country. Their arrival in Romania is expected around 10 pm.
The itinerary winds through the frontiers of hope, stresses Fr Adrian Dancă.
"We chose, as the idea of this project, the words 'On the frontiers of hope'. Many people are being forced to leave homes, loved ones, and roots. On the horizon, however, there is hope, one that, for the moment, passes through the borders of neighboring countries. We want to intercept their hopes,” explains Father Adrian Dancă, “and transform them as far as possible into a commitment and a reason for prayer. We hope to share what we see on the spot with our listeners to invite them to open their hearts to prayer for these brothers and sisters of ours".