Ukrainian refugees shelter in the ballroom of a Romanian hotel | Latest Richmond News

A four-star hotel in Romania has transformed its lavish ballroom into a makeshift refuge for some of the thousands of people who cross the borders from neighboring Ukraine every day. The first refugees began arriving at the Mandachi Hotel and Spa in Suceava shortly after Russia began invading Ukraine. Since then, more than 2,000 people and 100 pets have taken refuge inside the 850 square meter former ballroom, sleeping on numbered mattresses under a glittering disco ball, for one or two nights until that they can find transport to relatives in other European countries. In what the United Nations has described as the fastest refugee exodus this century, more than 1.5 million people have fled Ukraine. Among those staying at the hotel shelter were Olga Okhrimenko and her Corgi, Knolly. It had taken them three days to flee Ukraine by car, bus and taxi in the freezing cold. “Every time someone asks me where I’m from, and I say Kharkiv, their expression is like I’m from Hiroshima,” Okhrimenko told The Associated Press from mattress number 60. As she spoke, volunteers with megaphones repeatedly interrupted her to announce the departure of the buses. for Italy, Germany, Bulgaria and other European nations. The room was chaotic, filled mostly with women and children, as the men stayed in Ukraine to fight. The majority of the refugees were Ukrainians, but there were also Nigerians, Moroccans, Italians, Chinese and Iranians.

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