War in Ukraine: the long hours of waiting for refugees at the border with Slovakia

Audio 01:27

At the Velke Semence border crossing where the queues are getting longer on the Ukrainian side.

Here, February 25, 2022. AFP - PETER LAZAR

Text by: RFI Follow

2 mins

The number of Ukrainians trying to leave their attacked country has been steadily increasing in recent days.

At the border between Ukraine and Slovakia, the crossing is very often done on foot and after very long hours of waiting.


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With our special correspondent at Velke Slemence


Alexis Rosenzweig

At the border between Ukraine and Slovakia, a small car is parked in a parking lot on the Slovak side with four small children in the back.

It's 6:30 a.m. and the two mothers, Natalya and Miroslava, are exhausted after fifteen hours of waiting to cross the border: " 

There is no war yet at home in the Carpathians, but we are afraid that she gets there too and we decided to leave in an hour, we didn't believe in war, but Putin decided otherwise

 , ”says Natalya.

Natalya, whose husband remained in


, like

all men of military age

who cannot leave the country.

The one from Miroslava is a truck driver and is driving his truck in France this weekend.

He must join them in Bratislava, the Slovak capital, to stay there “ 

until the end of the current war


The mobilization of NGOs on the Slovak side

At the Velke Semence border crossing, the queues are getting longer on the Ukrainian side, but help is being organized on the Slovak side, with NGOs and volunteers like Pavel present on the spot: " 

We distribute tea, cakes, bananas, clothes.

All you see there are donations from the Slovak population.


The Slovak Minister of Finance already announces up to several tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees per day.

The Slovak government plans next week to speed up the administrative procedures to give them, as soon as they have crossed the border, residence and work permits accompanied by the right to social assistance for housing.

To listen: In Poland, volunteers rushed to the border to welcome refugees from Ukraine


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