But the people waiting for the return flight across the border were almost no longer male. Perhaps half of that queue was full of women who had queued up to return to the war zone.
Maria Halligan told CNN she was going to her home city of Kyiv to be with her family and her Canadian husband to fight “Russian terrorists,” as she put it.
“If I had to do it, I would do it for my country and my relatives and my friends,” she said, adding that there was no place for her to be nervous.
“I am not (a man), I can’t kill. I am (a) a woman and my job (is) to keep balance and help, be kind, take care of relatives, family, friends and all of Ukraine. But now I feel that all Ukrainians (are) my relatives. I hope that helps The global community of Ukrainians, and all Ukrainians, because it is my family.”
She was holding a paper heart, made for her in the blue and yellow of the Ukrainian flag by Polish children, who hoped this would be a good luck talisman.
Every woman in class on this cold, cloudy day had her own reasons for returning to her country at war. But there seems to be one thread that connects nearly every woman waiting to board the train. They consider returning home to a war zone a symbolic act of resistance to the Russian aggressors.
Their faces looked determined, and the line was calmer than the emotional rush of people fleeing to Poland.
Near the front was Tatiana Veremichenko. The 40-year-old came to Poland three days before bringing her two adult daughters to safety. Now she said she would return to eastern Ukraine, near the border with Russia.
Veremichenko said she felt empty and far from Ukraine. Sitting in Poland seemed very peaceful and serene. She wanted to return to be with her husband, who might soon be asked to join the army.
“It’s my home,” she said. “And I think I’d probably be more useful if I went there than if I stayed here.” “Ukraine is just as important to men and women… We have the strength, the will, and the heart. Women have it too.”
Irina Odile said she had brought her grandchildren to Poland but felt emboldened to return to her family in the southern port city of Odessa.
“I’m worried, but the feeling is getting boring over time. I just want to be next to my family.”
Toward the back of the row stood Nelia holding a small white dog, her daughter Yulia, and her granddaughter Sophia.
Neelia knows that her daughter prefers everyone to be safe and together. But with her father refusing to leave Ukraine because it was his home, she felt called up again.
She simply said, “I can’t give up on him.”
And that’s what ties the vector women of the fifth platform together – whether they’re helping their family or their country, they choose not to give up.
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