In pictures – desperation at Ukraine border as hundreds of thousands of residents flee

More than half a million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country last week, according to the UN refugee agency.

UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi gave the estimate in a tweet.

The latest and still growing count had 281,000 people entering Poland, more than 84,500 in Hungary, about 36,400 in Moldova, over 32,500 in Romania and about 30,000 in Slovakia, UNHCR spokeswoman Shabia Mantoo said.

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The rest were scattered in unidentified other countries, she said.

Another train carrying hundreds of refugees from Ukraine arrived early on Monday in the town of Przemysl in southeastern Poland.

AP Photo/Andreea Alexandru
Refugees fleeing the conflict from neighboring Ukraine trying to stay warm at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania

In winter coats to protect them against near-freezing temperatures, with small suitcases, they lined up at the platform to the exit.

Some waved at the cameras to show they felt relief to be out of the war zone and many were making phone calls.

It comes as lodging app Airbnb offers short-term housing from up to 100,000 refugees displaced by the conflict.

Refugees exit the border control after fleeing the conflict from neighboring Ukraine at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania.

The temporary stays will be funded by the firm and its donors to the Refugee Fund, and the generosity of Hosts through

Bosses sent letters to European leaders offering to welcome refugees fleeing from the war-torn country to four nations to take in those trying to escape Vladimir Putin’s invasion, reports the Mirror.

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People fleeing Ukraine arrive at the station, to collect a solidarity (free) ticket after crossing the border at Zahony-Csap, Hungary

Brian Chesky, Airbnb CEO, Nathan Blecharzy, chief strategy officer and Joe Gebbia non-profit all stated the organization’s plan to provide housing for Ukrainian refugees.

A statement from Airbnb read: “We know that hosts on Airbnb and guests around the world will be eager to stand up and assist this massive effort – and in the coming days, Airbnb plans to share details on how hosts on Airbnb and the broader community can support this initiative.”

On Monday, Home Secretary Priti Patel said an extension of visa rules to “immediate family members” would allow Ukrainians to “seek sanctuary” in the UK.

A Ukrainian woman reacts after arriving at the Medyka border crossing, in Poland, on Sunday, February 27

Across Ukraine, meanwhile, terrified families huddled overnight in shelters, bases or corridors.

Alexandra Mikhailova sat weeping as she clutched her cat in a makeshift shelter in the strategic southeastern port city of Mariupol.

“I sit and pray for these negotiations to end successfully, so that they reach an agreement to end the slaughter, and so there is no more war,” she said.

Border police push an elderly lady in an office chair after fleeing with family the conflict from neighboring Ukraine, at the Romanian-Ukrainian border, in Siret, Romania

Around her, parents sought to console children and keep them warm.

The UN human rights chief said at least 102 civilians have been killed and hundreds wounded in more than four days of fighting, warning that figure is probably a vast undercount, and Ukraine’s president said at least 16 children were among the dead.

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People inside the station after crossing the border at Zahony-Csap, Hungary.

Negotiations on the border with Belarus on Monday were the first face-to-face talks between Ukrainian and Russian officials since the war began.

The delegations met at a long table with the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag on one side and the Russian tricolor on the other.

A child collects toys near a clothes donating point as refugees fleeing conflict in Ukraine arrive at the Medyka border crossing in Poland

The Ukrainian president’s office said it would demand an immediate cease-fire and withdrawal of Russian troops.

But while Ukraine sent its defense minister and other top officials, the Russian delegation was led by Mr Putin’s adviser on culture, an unlikely envoy for ending the war and perhaps a sign of how seriously Moscow views the talks.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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