According to the UN, during the two weeks of the war, 5 million people left Ukraine, and 3 million will leave shortly. The most popular evacuation destinations are Poland, Romania, Moldova, Hungary, and Slovakia. These are all our western neighbors. Most Ukrainians go to Poland. In the first days of hostilities, people had to stand for days at checkpoints. Of the above countries, the fewest Ukrainians travel to Moldova.
Why? Moldova is not a member of the EU, and it is one of the poorest countries in Europe (the other day, Moldova, following Ukraine, filed an application for joining the European Union under an accelerated procedure. But the republic is not going to join NATO yet). But still, given the small population of Moldova and limited resources, it is difficult for the state to cope with the flow of refugees. True, at least half of those who come travel further - through Romania to Europe. Many are in Germany.
Information about the conditions for refugees in Romania is posted in the volunteer centers in Chisinau. By the way, according to local residents, about a third of Moldovans also have Romanian citizenship. As my source told me, life in Romanian cities is richer than in Moldovan cities. But in the villages, such a difference is not felt.
Since I was not ready to make a decision to emigrate permanently, I need time to wait out the hostilities in Ukraine, I do not know foreign languages well, it was decided to settle in Moldova for the time being. Traveled with mom, daughter and dog.
By the way, a state of emergency has been declared in Moldova in connection with the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Valid, it practically does not affect the lives of ordinary people - a curfew has not been announced, and documents are not checked on the streets.
According to local media, Moldova has a great chance of becoming the next victim of Russian aggression.
It isn't easy to get out of Ukraine now. True, the situation is constantly changing depending on the geography of hostilities. You can get to the border by the free train of Ukrzaliznytsia, but, as passengers write on social networks, it is tough to leave; five people apply for one shelf. Some say that the suitcases had to be left on the platform. I was not entirely satisfied with this alignment, so I looked for other ways of evacuation in groups on social networks. There are free volunteer groups, but the search yielded no results. Everyone wanted to go; no one wanted to give a ride. That's why I started looking for money. But there were few such options. Everywhere they asked for an advance payment. In the end, I transferred the prepayment; although I understood the risks, there was no way out. After that, the "carrier" stopped responding, and my 3 thousand UAH was "gone." But I kept looking. As a result, I found a company on social networks that undertook to coordinate with the driver. The road from Kyiv to the border with Moldova cost 750 euros. Expensive, but there were no other options. We drove through the Chernivtsi region, the checkpoint Rososhany - Birchen. Surprisingly, there were no queues at the border, and all the formalities were settled in 10 minutes. On the Moldovan side, we were met by volunteers - tea, coffee, sandwiches. We were also given one free starter package for mobile communication by Orange. In addition, the volunteers drove by car to the bus station in the city of Birchen. We took a minibus to Chisinau (it takes 3.5 hours, the cost is 170 lei).
Prices in Moldova are comparable to Ukrainian ones. They are significantly lower here than in neighboring Romania or Poland. One Moldovan leu - 1.59 UAH. If before the flow of refugees from Ukraine, it was possible to rent a house in Chisinau for 200 euros, then the prices rose, and now the apartments have been taken apart even by those owners who ask for exorbitant prices. True, volunteers help the visiting Ukrainians. But we are not talking about comfortable living conditions. They settle in churches and exhibition centers. I'm fortunate with my apartment. In early March, I made a publication in a local group, and the hostess contacted me and waited until we arrived. For 150 euros, we rented a one-room apartment in a quiet center (Pushkinskaya Gorka).
Prices for most products in Chisinau are comparable to those in Kyiv. Sausage is more expensive.
Bread. Baguette - about 4 lei; loaf - 12 lei.
Potatoes. 7-12 lei/kg.
Cheese. From 140 lei/kg.
Fruit. Apples – 6-9 lei/kg.
Milk. From 17 lei per liter package.
Sweets. A pack of waffles or cookies from 20 lei.
Coffee. A 100-gram jar of good coffee from 80 lei.
Pate. From 20 lei per can (300 g).
Crossing the border of Moldova, we decided not to apply for refugee status because it implies certain restrictions (for example, entering Ukraine). Without this, citizens of Ukraine can stay up to 90 days on the territory of Moldova. Now the state authorities are considering an automatic extension of this period. For example, in Poland, Ukrainians were allowed to stay legally for 1.5 years without refugee status. At this time, you can work, receive medical care, and children can study. By the way, unlike the EU countries, Moldova does not provide financial assistance to those who apply for refugee status (such information was provided on the hotline of the migration bureau). What can you count on? Dormitory room and help with food packages.
What to see in Chisinau
I was lucky to settle in Chisinau. I share my impressions. The city reminded me a little of Chernivtsi, a little of Odesa. In general, Moldova is similar to Ukraine in the pre-war period.
Chisinau is the capital and most populated city of the republic. The population of Chisinau (for 2020) is 635,994 people.
In the very center of the city is the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ and the bell tower. This religious and cultural site is called the pearl of Chisinau.
If you happen to be in Chisinau, take the opportunity to visit the Church of St. Panteleimon in neo-Byzantine style. It was founded at the end of the 19th century by local patrons. I stayed in Chisinau for a week, but this cultural site impressed me the most.
The pedestrian street in the center reminded me of our Andreevsky Descent. Here is the Sculpture of Lovers, depicting two young people who came on a date.
I look forward to warming weather when numerous vineyards across the country turn green, and it will be more pleasant to see the local beauties.