My friend was taken to fight war against Russia as we walked 43 miles to the Polish border – it was harrowing to see

My friend was taken to fight war against Russia as we walked 43 miles to the Polish border – it was harrowing to see


A MAN has described how his Ukrainian friend was taken to fight against Russia as they walked 43 miles to the Polish border.

Manny Marotta, 25, told The Sun he saw men dragged out of cars in front of their children by Ukrainian troops to be conscripted to fight in the East.


A little girl fleeing Ukraine waits at Lviv train station[/caption]


Refugees are served tea at the Polish border[/caption]


Manny Marotta walked for 20 hours to reach the border with Poland[/caption]

Usually working as a tour guide in an art museum, Manny, from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, had been in Ukraine for a week and a half working as an independent journalist when Russia invaded Ukraine on Thursday. 

Manny, who is travelling with London-born friend Sam Alexanderi, told The Sun: “We realised on Thursday morning that we needed to get out of Lviv. All of the trains and buses to Poland had stopped so the only way we could make it out was by foot.

“It wasn’t just young people who were making this journey, we saw elderly and frail people carrying their possessions on the road. Some had pets and were struggling to walk.

“It got a lot worse when night fell. There are no street lights on those roads in the country and the conditions were incredibly difficult.

“We just had to carry on walking – there was no other choice.”

President Zelenskyy made an order on Thursday that all men aged 18 to 60 are to be conscripted into the army and Manny watched in horror as troops pulled fathers from cars in the caravan in front of their terrified children.

He said: “They were essentially conscription units who were pulling every single man between the age of 18 and 60 from his family.

“Sons were taken from their mothers as they tried to make it to safety. It was harrowing to see.

“I had made a friend called Max, a 24-year-old Ukrainian student, who was scared and was walking with us to Poland. When the troops arrived he was taken to join the army, he had no choice.”

A video taken by Manny of Max at the moment the soldiers arrived shows the scared young student being forced to leave the queue which had formed on the Polish border.

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Max can be heard saying: “I’m really hoping that I will be lucky to stay in the line but I hear the man yelling that we all should come back, all Ukrainians. They say I need to leave the line.”

When Manny finally got to the border late on Thursday night, after setting off at 7.15am, he was part of a “human crush” of around 2,000 people who were attempting to flee.

He said: “The Polish authorities were letting 10 people through every 20 minutes, so you can imagine how long it took. It took around eight hours to get across those last 500 metres.

“It was pitch black with thousands of people crammed into horrible conditions with no first aid, no water, no food, and no toilet facilities.

“In contrast, when we arrived in Poland we were greeted with tea and donuts. Then we were taken by bus to Przemyal, where we are now.”


Ukrainians have desperately been trying to leave the country after the Russian invasion[/caption]


Lines of cars queue up at the border with Poland[/caption]

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