Poignant images show wheelchair users being lifted on to train carriages as they flee their homes in Donbas after more than three months as Russian forces advance
- Disabled in wheelchairs pictured being hoisted on to trains in war-torn Donbas
- Buses brought scores of citizens from Lysychansk, Donetsk and Severodonetsk
- Mothers were pictured carrying babies while others had pet cats in baskets
Amid a lull in the carnage, the disabled were lifted high up on to train carriages to flee their homes.
After more than three months of the conflict, the war has finally become too much for them.
At Pokrovsk station in war-torn Donbas, hundreds of desperate faces tried to board trains to flee Vladimir Putin‘s brutal advance in the east of Ukraine.
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Buses brought citizens of all ages from Lysychansk, Donetsk and Severodonetsk.
They carried overloaded bags, cats in baskets and babies. Among the crowds were sisters Yeva, six, and Katia, ten.
Amid a lull in the carnage, 81-year-old Raise from Lysychansk is lifted high up on to a train carriage at Pokrovsk station in war-torn Donbas, Ukraine
Villagers from the surrounding areas, including those with medical issues, are pictured boarding a refugee train to Lviv
They had begun asking their father if they would survive – so he decided it was time to escape.
‘If you have iron nerves, and you are an adult, you can stay there and live, somehow. But my children do not,’ Olexander, not his real name, said as they headed for Lviv.
‘We could see the explosions of the shells around a quarter of a mile away from our home. The children were nervous all the time.’
Marharyta, 26, held her son Maksym, one, as she dragged a pushchair up the stairs.
Her six-year-old son Mykyta followed behind.
Margarita, 26, and her one-year-old Maksym pictured at the railway station in Pokrovsk, after being helped to flee the Donbas town of Slovyansk which is facing increased Russian shelling
Two-year-old Valeria with her mother Anna, 33. They were fleeing their front line village home for the second time, after a renewed Russian surge in the area. They are shown leaving distraught father and husband 34 year old Zakir, and Grandmother Olga
They were escaping Sloviansk, west of Severodonetsk – joining more than 7.7million Ukrainians who have now fled.
On the platform, staff winched 64-year-old cancer patient Halyna on to the train in a sling.
She needs urgent medical help after being evacuated from Bakhmut by UK charity RefugEase.
Pokrovsk was shelled twice last week.
The attacks heightened fears there could be a repeat of Kramatorsk, where Russian rockets hit the railway station in April – killing 59 would-be refugees.