War-stranded Ukrainians on holiday in Egypt return home

Thousands of Ukrainians who were vacationing in Egypt when Russia invaded their country have arrived in Budapest in recent days, most returning home even as fighting there worsens daily.

Charter flights organized by the Ukrainian and Egyptian embassies in Hungary have brought 2,600 Ukrainians to Budapest from the seaside resort of Sharm el-Sheikh since March 5 and would end on Friday, the airport spokeswoman told Reuters. Budapest, Katalin Valentinyi. Ukraine closed its airspace to commercial flights when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched what he calls “a special military operation” in Ukraine on February 24. More than 2.3 million people have now fled the country, according to the United Nations.

Some of those arriving in Budapest had already planned to travel to Poland, Germany or other European countries to stay with relatives. The majority, however, were determined to return home, on buses provided by the police and fire brigade to take them to the next train for Zahony on the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. “I’m not afraid of anything, I’m going home. These are my people, this is my land,” said Ekaterina, 72, who was resting at the airport before continuing the next leg of her journey. to his home. city ​​of Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine.

“People are now knitting camouflage nets…sewing clothes for the army. We will have a lot of work there,” she said. Ukraine said on Thursday that Moscow had rejected its call for humanitarian access to rescue hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped under shelling. High-level talks between the two sides held in Turkey came to nothing.

Ukrainians arriving at Budapest airport were greeted by volunteer translators who helped them continue their journey or find accommodation for the night while handing out bananas, chocolate bars and water to exhausted children . Some families decided to split up and headed to different countries, saying emotional goodbyes at the airport.

Olga and Aleksandr Martinenko were returning home to Kiev with their two children. “We have everything there. Our parents, the school, our friends and our cat,” Olga, 35, told Reuters. “We will defend (our) land… What else can we do? We can’t hide now.”

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)