Watch CBS News

Tens of thousands of Ukrainians pour into Poland seeking safety from Russia's bombardment

Ukrainians flee to Poland as Russia advances
Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians flee to Poland, neighboring countries as Russian forces advance 02:15

Krakovets, Ukraine — Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have already escaped Russia's bombardment of their country into neighboring nations, and many thousands more are still trying to get out. Many have walked for miles to get to the nearest border, where they find extremely long lines.

The United Nations refugee agency says as many as 4 million people could be displaced by the fighting.

As CBS News correspondent Chris Livesay reports, Poland, which sits on Ukraine's western border, has already allowed more than 200,000 Ukrainians to enter.

Livesay said a logjam at a border checkpoint in the Ukrainian city of Krakovets clearly showed the heart-breaking reality for people trying to flee bloodshed at home. Dozens were lined up Monday morning waiting for food — after waiting for days to get out of Ukraine.

"We knew that it would be something like war," said one refugee, "but we didn't know that it would be actually, on our whole Ukraine, war."

Hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees have arrived in other countries 04:34

The Russian invasion is ripping apart their homes. The U.N. says the onslaught has pushed more than 360,000 people to flee across Ukraine's borders — a number that "continues to rise" — most of them into Poland.

On the Ukrainian side of the border, CBS News saw a bottleneck at the Krakovets crossing point, with cars, buses and trucks lined up for miles into the country. The vehicles carry children, pets, and just about anything else their desperate, weary passengers could grab in a hurry.

Russian convoy heads to Kyiv as Ukrainian forces hold the capital 07:39

Most of the people Livesay and his team saw waiting to get across the border into Poland on Monday were women and children. Men of fighting age have been ordered to remain in Ukraine as the nation seeks any and all volunteers to help defend its territory in the conflict between Vladimir Putin and the West.

Poland's border guard noted on Sunday that some 22,000 people had crossed the border in the opposite direction — many of them Ukrainians who had been abroad but decided to return to help fight for their country.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.