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A look inside Warsaw Central Station, a hub for residents and refugees

Poland Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 5:47 AM, May 05, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-05 10:11:35-04

WARSAW, POLAND — It's Poland's largest, busiest train station.

Travelers, city workers, and students all use Warsaw's massive rail system to criss-cross a city of 1.8 million people — but they're not the only ones. Warsaw Central Station has been more than just a pit stop for millions of Ukrainian refugees.

Volunteers tell ABC15's Nick Ciletti that as many as 20,000 Ukrainian refugees continue to pass through the station each day, even though the war has been waging on for more than two months.

They're refugees just like Victoria, a young mom and small business owner, who left Ukraine with only what she could carry.

Through a translator, she told Nick, "I woke up hearing explosions in the city and I didn't know how many people would die, including me."

Outside the train station, there are tents where troops and volunteers feed refugees, some with no place to go.

Inside, volunteers like Paolo Canova, who is from Arkansas, help refugees navigate Poland's railways and beyond.

"It is really difficult for me," he explains. "To see these people with the bags they're carrying...that is the one thing I try to do with the mothers. I try to help them with the bags. It helped me realize this is everything that they have. They left their homes so basically so they carry their lives in their hands now."

Back on the platforms, a woman tells Nick she's getting ready to board a train to return to Ukraine to celebrate her 50th birthday with her family.

"We are very brave," she explains. "And it's not easy to break us."