As war rages in Ukraine, and refugees flee to nearby European countries, many individuals eventually hope to return.
In Poland, CNN’s Ed Lavandera found a train shuttling Ukrainians in both directions — some arriving, seeking safety, and others returning to their war-torn nation.
Mostly, reported Lavandera, it has been men returning to Ukraine. But on this day, the train platform featured many women, each feeling a sense of duty as their country fights to survive.
“Ukraine is equally important for men and women,” Tatiyana Veremychenko told Lavandera. “We’re the real Ukrainians, women have the strength and will and the heart as well.”
Another woman, Irina Orel, told Lavandera that while she is nervous about returning to Ukraine she admits to becoming numb to the violence.
“I’m anxious … but the feeling has become dull over time,” she said. “I just want to be next to my family.”
In a sense, said Orel, returning home is a way of standing up and fighting for her country.
“We have all become united during this time. Each one doing what they can to help our military. Women are doing it and men as well,” she said.
Mariia Halligan, yet another woman Lavandera met waiting for transport to Ukraine, spoke of a certain duty to fight what she’s labeling “Russian terrorists.”
“If you know what you need to do, it’s impossible to feel nervous over something like this,” Halligan said. “If I have to do this, I will do it. For my country, for my relatives, for my friends.”
As for the growing number of women Lavandera spotted, Halligan noted a certain role to be played for those not physically engaging in combat.
“I’m not man, I can’t kill, I’m woman. And my work keep balance, and help, and be kind, and care about relatives, family, friends. All we care,” she said.
“Now I feel that all Ukrainians [are] my relatives,” she added.