Polish border town mayor says refugee relocation is key issue

The mayor said that, since the weekend, a network of trains had started to take refugees straight from Przemysl station to a number of Polish cities. Darek Delmanowicz/PAP

The mayor of Przemysl, a Polish town near the Ukrainian border, has said the main challenge for local authorities is to co-ordinate the transports of refugees to other Polish cities as thousands of Ukrainians fleeing the war have flocked into his town.

"We're talking about a huge problem and we all know that the temperatures are around zero and significantly below zero at night," Wojciech Bakun said at a press conference outside the Przemysl railway station on Monday. "Our main task is to take people from the border to warm areas and warm transport."

The mayor said that, since the weekend, a network of trains had started to take refugees straight from Przemysl station to a number of Polish cities.

"This all started during the weekend when transports from the Medyka border crossing carried people to trains departing from Przemysl railway station every hour," Bakun said.

Some 18,000 refugees crossed into Poland through Medyka on foot over the past 24 hours, he added.

Bakun said Przemysl did not have the resources to organise individual transport for everyone.

"Considering such numbers of people, the primary goal is to transport them swiftly to points that will handle them," the mayor said.

Przemysl has also been receiving transports of humanitarian aid from all over Poland and the rest of Europe, with some of them continuing their journey to Ukraine.

Some 1,000 volunteers are helping Ukrainians arriving in Poland at the railway station and a supermarket turned into a refugee centre, according to Bakun.

"Hundreds more are working in schools and dormitories preparing food and packages," he said.

Poland has received over a million Ukrainian refugees since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24.