Estonia turns away Ukrainian refugees at EU border after harrowing wait
16 October 2022 | 2:31 pm
At Russia's border with Estonia, thousands of Ukrainians have been forced to wait for days in raw weather. Even once they reach Estonia, some say they do not know why they were denied entry to the European Union.
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This is our fourth episode on the fall of the Soviet Union. Today we go to Estonia... the former Soviet republic which has undergone the fastest and most radical modernisation. The country is now a digital powerhouse where almost everything can be done from a smartphone. France 24's Sylvain Rousseau and Achraf Abid report from Tallinn.
Thousands of civilians are training for a potential emergency in the so-called Kaitseliit or Estonian Defense League, a paramilitary organization. In the event of a Russian attack, they plan to defend Estonia.
Tens of thousands of civilians have been fleeing Ukraine for Poland, many on packed trains arriving at the border city of Przemysl. Most of those arriving at the train station in the southeastern city are women and children, as well as some elderly people.
One of the poorest countries in Europe has taken in tens of thousands of Ukrainian refugees. That support, and fear of further Russian aggression, have brought the tiny southeast European nation international attention.
Russia's attack on Ukraine is putting Russian speakers in Estonia under pressure to decide which side of history they are on. The Estonian government is under pressure to help them feel more at home in the Baltic state.
The number of Ukrainians fleeing the war keeps climbing. Within a few days, volunteers in the border cities of Frankfurt (Oder) in Germany and Slubice in Poland have put together a large support network for refugees.
Poland is allowing millions of Ukrainians fleeing the war access to the labor market and to health and social benefits. Polish officials are struggling to register and help all the people arriving in the country.
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