Vladimir Pavluk techniques the border crossing between Poland and Ukraine as if he used to be taking a Sunday walk.
The 26-year-old from Odesa, who labored in Poland as a taxi driver, consists of a massive rucksack and enjoys the remaining rays of Polish sun. His female friend tightly holds his hand.
“It’s a horrible feeling when they bomb your home,” he says with a calm voice. “The battle commenced and we have to go back. I fought between 2015 and 2019 so I recognize what to do. My lady friend will remain here.”
A brief brunette in a black hoodie bursts into tears. They walk away.
Since the starting of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, heaps of Ukrainians in the conscription age have been crossing the border to be part of the military again home.
Men from specific angles of life, exceptional a long time and tiers of navy education have determined to depart the security of the European Union and help Ukraine towards the Russian invasion.
In the Russian reliable narrative, these who combat in opposition to the aggression are labelled as Nazis who hate Russia, the Russian lifestyle and the Russian language.
“We don’t assume about that, we recognize it’s a lie,” solutions Vitaly, 27, from Zaporozhe in central Ukraine, in impeccable Russian.
“We be aware of our country, we comprehend our government, we understand our human beings and ourselves. We talk each Russian and Ukrainian. We don’t have a hassle with the language.”
Vitaly got here to the Polish border all the way from Estonia. He has now not been in a position to contact his household for the previous sixteen hours. He would like to go to his fatherland first however he says he will go at any place the military wants him most. This will be his first war.
“I have in no way fought in my life. I went thru a navy coaching a lengthy time ago, however this is no longer stopping me. There are no phrases to describe how I feel,” he says.
“We’ve by no means desired to fight, we haven’t invaded anyone, we are going to protect ourselves. There are sanctions in opposition to Russia however we apprehend that there are many matters that our and your leaders don’t say. All we can do is mobilise.”
Vitaly is no longer alone. Three of his Ukrainian pals from Estonia are standing next to him in a queue. They are now not new to the battle and are prepared to help their inexperienced friend.
Alexander, 38, fought alongside the Ukrainian military towards Donbas separatists. He is calm. He is aware of he has no desire however to go returned to fight.
“I predicted this to happen. When the embassies bought evacuated I understood that the struggle would begin. I used to be now not surprised,” he tells Al Jazeera. “I’m going again to shield my country, my family, my land.”
They omit thru the border amid encouraging chants: Slava Ukrainie! Geroyom Slava! [Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!]
Most of these crossing lower back to Ukraine are in their twenties and thirties. But no longer Yaroslav. His gray hair and lengthy gray moustache make him appear like the different soldiers’ grandfather.
His black beret with a pin bearing the Ukrainian flag provide his seem an charisma of authentic eccentricity.
Yaroslav is 59, which capacity he is in his last yr of obligatory conscription.
“I’m speeding again domestic due to the fact this is the remaining name to assist the defence effort. I have labored in Poland as a driver for six years. Now I’ve determined to go lower back to assist my army,” he says passionately.
“When I heard about the combat increasing I felt that I have to go lower back home. I in no way fought in any war. I used to be in the navy returned in the Soviet instances so I take into account how to use the gun.”
Yaroslav is fifty nine and he has in no way fought in any war. Nevertheless, he has determined to depart Poland and aid the Ukrainian military [Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska/Al Jazeera]Yaroslav, 59, has in no way fought in any fighting however determined to depart Poland and guide the Ukrainian military [Agnieszka Pikulicka-Wilczewska/Al Jazeera]
Most of the human beings gathered at the border admire the braveness and patriotism of the guys and female crossing returned into Ukraine. Except for Nikolai. The 59-year old, not like Yaroslav, does now not assume he is ideal for war. He watches the conscripts passing through and tears fill his eyes.
He holds a banner that says “Warsaw”. He presents a free journey to the Polish capital Warsaw to Ukrainians who, like him, determined to flee their homeland. He is additionally waiting for the arrival of his aged mom who is the remaining one of his spouse and children to arrive into safety.
Nikolai was once lucky. He determined to evacuate his family, such as his son and nephews, from Poltava, no longer a long way from the Russian border, simply earlier than the authorities banned guys in the conscription age from leaving the country.