Klobuchar recounts 'heartbreaking' scenes of Ukrainian refugees fleeing war

Russia Ukraine War refugees flee
Refugees that fled the war in Ukraine wait at the Przemysl train station, southeastern Poland, on Saturday, March 12, 2022.
Daniel Cole | AP

U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar is in Poland with a group of her fellow senators, getting a first-hand look at the response to the refugee crisis sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

On Sunday, she spent time along Poland’s border with Ukraine, just 15 miles from the site of a Russian missile attack on a military training center in the Ukrainian city of Yavoriv, which killed dozens of people.

“It’s heartbreaking … Ukrainian refugees that are streaming, streaming through the border, many of them having witnessed the bombings of their town, destruction of hospitals and kids killed,” Klobuchar said in a phone interview with MPR News. 

Klobuchar said she has been impressed with the resolve of the Ukrainians and by the generosity of the Polish people.

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"I think that the people of Minnesota — first of all people of Ukrainian descent — they're watching every single moment of this. And I just want them to know how meeting their people up front and center, how they're every bit and more as courageous as we've heard,” she said.

Klobuchar said the senators received a classified briefing from U.S. and Polish military leaders, who described efforts to bolster Ukraine’s air defenses. 

“Our job was to bring back to Washington from the field and frontline about what they need and our aid workers … about what they need for the humanitarian part of this,” Klobuchar said. 

Back in Minneapolis, what’s become a weekly show of support for Ukraine took the form of a march from the Ukrainian American Community Center to Nicollet Mall downtown.

"I'm here because I can't be in Ukraine right now,” said Yeugeniy Atmore, who was born in Ukraine and moved to the U.S. as a child.” We can only say what Putin is doing is wrong."

Some who took part in the march called for the U.S. to have more military involvement in Ukraine, even if it means sparking a wider war.