As Russia invades Ukraine, street papers in Eastern Europe and around the world are standing in solidarity with the Ukrainian people’s right to democracy and in support of all those who may flee.
More than a million people may leave Ukraine to seek refuge in neighbouring nations like Poland, Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia, according to Reuters. High levels of poverty, unemployment, homelessness and displacement in the country mean people were already struggling to live and access basic needs.
The International Network of Street Papers has said it is “deeply concerned for these vulnerable communities, the innocent lives under threat and the humanitarian crisis unfolding alongside the conflict”.
“We are horrified and moved by the situation in Ukraine,” said Dagmara Szlandrowicz of Gazeta Uliczna in Poland. “Suddenly, we witnessed the beginning of a new war and the violation of peace or a sense of security. Today we express our solidarity, friendship and fraternity with the people of Ukraine. We will organise possible forms of help and support. We are with you.”
Patrycja Zenker, the Polish street paper’s editor-in-chief, added: “Despite the information that Russia was planning to attack Ukraine, many of us did not believe that it was possible in the modern world. We conjured up reality, believing in historical memory, in diplomacy, in reason. Therefore, the war that began today came as a surprise to us.
“Many Ukrainians live and work in Poland – they did not come to it as war refugees. Most of them came to a pre-arranged job. Today, the situation has changed dramatically – we expect that those people who are already in Poland will be joined by their families, that from the areas attacked by Russia, their inhabitants will get to the west of Ukraine and to the Polish border. We know that many of them do not have passports, so it will not be possible to legally cross the border and stay. We are waiting for the position of the Polish authorities and the relevant regulations.