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Odesa beckons for many Ukrainians, but with bombs falling, the return home is fraught with deadly danger

Families in limbo line up on both sides of border town to pass into and out of war-torn homeland

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Four-year-old boy Mihail is comforted by his mother Olga as they wait to cross the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Four-year-old boy Mihail is comforted by his mother Olga as they wait to cross the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Yulia Fedorova crosses from Ukraine into Palanca, Moldova. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Yulia Fedorova crosses from Ukraine into Palanca, Moldova. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Veronica Onofreciuc (2) waits at the border post before crossing with her mother Varvara and younger sister Alisa. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Veronica Onofreciuc (2) waits at the border post before crossing with her mother Varvara and younger sister Alisa. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Sisters Alisa (10 months) and Veronics Onofreciuc (2) wait at the border post. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Sisters Alisa (10 months) and Veronics Onofreciuc (2) wait at the border post. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Valeria Samoilova with her two-year-old son Maxim Csharfos escape Odesa into Palanca, Moldova. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Valeria Samoilova with her two-year-old son Maxim Csharfos escape Odesa into Palanca, Moldova. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Virgiliu Hangan, co-ordinator at the Blue Dot camp in Palanca. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Virgiliu Hangan, co-ordinator at the Blue Dot camp in Palanca. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Palanca Border post between Ukraine and Moldova. Vaeria Samoilova with her two year old son Maxim Csharfos escape Odessa as they head for Moldova. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Palanca Border post between Ukraine and Moldova. Vaeria Samoilova with her two year old son Maxim Csharfos escape Odessa as they head for Moldova. Picture; Gerry Mooney

Four-year-old boy Mihail is comforted by his mother Olga as they wait to cross the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Four-year-old boy Mihail is comforted by his mother Olga as they wait to cross the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Elena Bulgari, a child protection officer sponsored by Unicef pictured at the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Elena Bulgari, a child protection officer sponsored by Unicef pictured at the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

People wait to have their documents checked before they cross the border in Palanca. Photo: Gerry Mooney

People wait to have their documents checked before they cross the border in Palanca. Photo: Gerry Mooney

People wait to have their documents checked before they cross the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

People wait to have their documents checked before they cross the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Veronica Onofreciuc (2) waits at the border post before crossing with her mother Varvara and younger sister Alisa. Photo: Gerry Mooney

Veronica Onofreciuc (2) waits at the border post before crossing with her mother Varvara and younger sister Alisa. Photo: Gerry Mooney

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Four-year-old boy Mihail is comforted by his mother Olga as they wait to cross the border. Photo: Gerry Mooney

On a hot and humid mid-week morning, cars and buses carrying refugees sporadically begin queuing to cross the border near the village of Palanca in Moldova.

Those not fortunate enough to make the journey in vehicles pull their suitcases along and gently guide their children through the queues that are gradually building.


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