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Refugees in Estonia: The most important thing is that there is no war here

The Savchuk family in Viimsi, Estonia.
The Savchuk family in Viimsi, Estonia. Source: ERR

More than 2 million people have already fled the war in Ukraine and several thousand have made their way to Estonia. Many are happy to simply escape to a place where it is possible to live without constant fear.

Last week, ERR's correspondent Epp Ehand traveled by bus with displaced people from the Polish-Ukrainian border to Estonia.

Ehand said many people had traveled for days to get to the border and then needed to wait for hours to cross into the EU. The majority are women with children, some of them very young.

On the journey to the Baltics, Mariia Savchuk and her sister-in-law Halyna Savchuk spoke to ERR. They have relatives working in the region.

The pair said they made a quick decision to pack up their lives and leave Ukraine along with their children. They are hopeful things will get better but also anxious.

They described their experiences in Ukraine to Ehand. "We don't know anything. We don't know when we can go back, whether the shooting will reach us or not," Mariia said: 

Halyna added: "It's important for us to be together. It's better than to stay where we can lose everything and not know if we will survive or not or what will happen next. There may be carnage at any moment, it's very scary to be there." 

Earlier this week, ERR caught up with Mariia and her family in Viimsi to see how the family is settling in.

The family is now living in a rented apartment in Lasnamäe and has received a lot of support from Estonians, the local municipality, and husband Roman's employer.

Describing the outbreak of war and the situation, Roman told ERR: "We were shocked at first. Then we started thinking about what to do, whether I would go to them or somehow try to get them here. We thought about how to get here, we need a place to live and things for the children. Now everyone is helping us, with things, with money, so far nothing has been complicated."

Halyna said: "The most important thing is that there is no war here."


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Editor: Helen Wright

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