Ukrainian citizens are returning to their homes in areas where fighting has subsided in greater numbers than those fleeing threatened areas. Natalia Ojewska and Ian Lovett report for The Wall Street Journal:
When Russia invaded Ukraine nearly three months ago, Hanna Kopylova fled Kyiv with her two children for northern Italy.
The family was safe in Verbania, Italy, where her parents have owned a home for years. But on a recent weekend, Ms. Kopylova kissed her children goodbye and headed back into Ukraine on her own.
“I am afraid,” said Ms. Kopylova, 34 years old, but added, “When you see all this bravery on the news, you want to be part of it.”
Ukrainian refugees are heading home in droves, following the Russian pullback from the central part of the country.
More people have returned to Ukraine than left the country in recent days, the country’s border service said on Sunday. On Saturday, 37,000 people left Ukraine via crossings to the European Union and Moldova, and 46,000 entered the country. Crossings in and out of Poland—where the majority of those who fled Ukraine have gone—have been roughly even since mid-April.
Overall, millions of Ukrainians remain in exile across Europe: Almost six million have left the country since the war began, according to United Nations statistics, while roughly 1.5 million people have entered the country over the same period.
Since the Russian pullback, many areas that Ukrainians fled in February and March are now relatively safe, including Kyiv.
“Refugees almost always want to go home,“ said Gillian Triggs, assistant high commissioner for protection with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. ”If there has been a withdrawal of Russian forces and they want to go back to their villages, they will do it, even though they know the shells are still falling and there is danger.”
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