A family stranded in Ukraine with a baby and a pregnant woman hopes to reach Bordeaux

Ilyes' two cousins ​​stranded in Ukraine
Ilyes and his two cousins ​​Madhi and Marwan are stranded in Ukraine (©Actu.fr)

“I’ve been waiting at the station for an hour. I couldn’t get gas. I’ll have to tell my wife we’re not going today. I’m leaving you. 28-year-old medical student Marwan is stranded in the south.Ukrainein town Zaporizhia, with his wife and baby. His cousin Ilyes on the other end of the line hangs up, his eyes cloudy and his voice comes out like a hiccup: “I don’t know what to do for them anymore”.

Located a few steps from Bordeaux train station, this 33-year-old entrepreneur’s apartment (Gironde), everything is ready to welcome two cousins, their wives, a baby and one last couple. wife pregnant“A few days left,” he assures.

from day one Russian military attackprepares bedding, children’s clothes, toys and buys food. “At least enough to last for a start. We’ll see later.”

He quickly decided to flee.

Ilyes from France felt the wind turn. “They didn’t seem very worried. They were finally in their daily lives,” he said. And then there were the firsts. bombingHow are you today on the morning of February 24. Sirens, long hours spent in shelters with neighbors and family. The decision to flee the country was quickly imposed.

Ilyes waits for his family, stranded in Ukraine, to cross the border
Ilyes waits for his family, stranded in Ukraine, to cross the border (©Actu.fr)

Marwan’s 26-year-old brother, Mehdi, and his wife, Natalya, did not hesitate. Light bags on their backs, they left the day after the attack, leaving their lives behind. “They have no children, it was easier for them, they managed to get on a crowded train. They stayed up for 18 hours,” continues Ilyes.

Since then, they have been waiting at the Polish border, unable to enter the country. “They will try to cross the Slovak border. This reassures me that they are far from the battlefields. Now… ”

For Marwan, on the other hand, the train option was quickly rejected. It is impossible to live this hell with a 10-month-old baby. Same for her sister-in-law, Lina, who is due to give birth this week. Out of desperation, he joined the convoy with his friend Alexander.

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“All four of them tried to get on the train. But they were pushed around. They preferred to go back.”


The closer the front line gets, the stronger the anxiety becomes. According to Marwan, who calls his cousin five to six times a day, the bombardments hit the neighboring town hard and destroyed civilian buildings, as evidenced by a video he sent us.

dashed hopes

According to the latest news, the horizons of two couples from Zaporijia were beginning to brighten. bus ride this was taking shape on Thursday, March 2. There was hope today: “We don’t know about the driver, it looks like the bus is in danger to me,” explains Marwan in a submissive tone as sirens sound in the distance.

Nevermind. They will drive the 1,200-kilometer road that separates them from the Slovak border. His decision is made. “This is very dangerous, it’s irritating. Russian soldiers are wary of civilians and regularly fire at cars approaching checkpoints,” Ilyes worriedly pointing to a bullet-riddled photo of a family’s corpses and their dogs. “This is what happens to those who try to escape.”

Not to mention that a liter of gasoline costs over $9, and supply is available at the city’s stations for only a few hours a day. And carnelian.

Lack of diapers and food

The wait is long. And resources are dwindling on both sides. On the Ukrainian side, bank transfers, shops looted, food and diapers will soon run out, while the Bordelai send “with small means”.

“We make sure everything is ready for their arrival,” assures Ilyes’ relative Annie, who organizes a large collection on social networks. “Sometimes we don’t have very nice messages, but generally people have been very generous”.

Annie organized a big cart of food, clothes and toys for their arrival.
Annie organized a large collection of food, clothes and toys for refugees from Ukraine. (©Actu.fr)

With his help, they will have enough to eat, shower and put on clean clothes when they arrive. However, Ilyes finds it difficult to let go of his “brothers” who are the prisoners of this war in which many civilians lost their lives.

“I asked about renting a car. I estimated the journey to the border at about 24 hours. I am ready to receive them. I can’t wait any longer.”

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