Iryna left everything in Lviv: a family displaced from kyiv now lives in her house and wears her clothes. One day she woke up and fled to Poland “with no plan” other than to escape the war, and now pins her hopes for him on the president of the United States, Joe Biden.
In the country where the most Ukrainian refugees have fled since the beginning of the Russian invasion, Hundreds of people watched Biden’s speech in Warsaw expectantly this Saturdayeager to hear something new that could help their loved ones in Ukraine.
“I want the sky to close, because if the sky closes, my friends and my family, all the people I know, will be safe”Iryna, 27, said in an interview with Efe at the royal castle in Warsaw, where Biden gave a speech before finishing his European tour.
Iryna was referring to the establishment of a no-fly zone over Ukraine, an option that could force the US to shoot down Russian planes and that both Biden and the NATO have outright ruled outfor fear that it could lead to a world war.
To Iryna and other Ukrainians in the audience, this White House reasoning sounded distant and bureaucratic: it is his relatives who are still in Ukrainethey are the ones who have to write to them every day without knowing if they will respond.
“Shut the sky! Arms for the Ukraine!”Dozens of attendees cried out again and again once Biden stopped talking and left the palace.
the desire to return
The mandatary He did not announce more aid for Ukraine in his speech, although on Thursday he pledged an additional $1 billion. for the country and in the last month has sent thousands of Javelin missiles, anti-tank rocket launchers, drones, grenade launchers, weapons and ammunition.
That help is still not “enough”, according to Walentyna Ukrainian who has lived in Warsaw for ten years and who believes that his compatriots urgently need “more weapons”.
Walentyn, 26, listened to Biden accompanied by his mother, his aunt and his three little cousins, whom welcomed into his apartment after they fled to Polanda week after the invasion began.
“When the war is over, they want to return,” He assured Efe about his relatives, who lived in western Ukraine.
Nearby, Julia Moskovets wrapped herself in a Ukrainian flag and he took selfies with his cheeks painted blue and yellow.
“My family is safe, but I don’t know how much longer it will be”the 29-year-old Ukrainian, who has been living in Warsaw for five years and whose loved ones are still in her city of Poltova, in eastern Ukraine, confessed to Efe.
“I want more help for Ukraine, ammunition for my country(I want Biden) to help my people survive this situation,” he stressed.
those left behind
Hours before, Biden had met with some of the more than 2.17 million refugees who have fled to Polandand whose arrival has added more than 300,000 inhabitants to the population of the Polish capital in a matter of weeks.
“All those children have told me: ‘Pray for my father, for my grandfather, for my brother who is there, fighting’Biden told the journalists who accompanied him.
The president assured that he himself knows what it is to “have someone in a war zone”because his son Beau, who died in 2015 from brain cancer, fought in the Iraq war.
“Every morning you wake up and wonder (how he’s doing). You pray you don’t get that call.”he recounted.
Like the kids who talked to Biden, Iryna still has her “future husband”, her father and grandfather in Ukrainewho stayed in case it was necessary to fight while she made the difficult decision, on the fifth day of the war, to go to Warsaw with her mother.
Although at the moment he is at the home of relatives, he doesn’t even want to think about the possibility of having to stay out of Ukraine long-term.
“We had plans for the future. We graduated from college, achieved something in life, and now we’ve lost it all.“, lament.
Before leaving Lviv, Iryna decided to take in a family with two small children who had fled from kyiv.and it still seems strange to him to think that now they are the ones sleeping in his bed and wearing his clothes.
Tears come to her eyes as she recounts what she left behind. overnight: his dog, his guitar, his camera.
“I really believe that President Biden will help us Ukrainianswill give us solutions to the situation, because this is a nightmare,” he concluded.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.