“We women boarded the train, but the men were ordered to step to the side,” she said. The Ukrainian authorities, she said, “were nice, not rude, but they said that men have a duty to defend the country.”

Thousands of Ukrainians crossed into neighboring countries to the west in search of safety as Russia pounded their capital and other cities with airstrikes for a second day, AP reports.

Those arriving were mostly women, children and the elderly after Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday banned men of military age from leaving the country.

A woman from the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, who arrived in Przemsyl, Poland, broke down in tears describing how men were pulled off trains in Ukraine before they got to the border.

“Even if the man was traveling with his own child he couldn’t cross the border, even with a kid,” said the woman, who would only give her first name, Daria.

Vilma Sugar, 68, fled her home in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, shaking in fear, and then faced the heartbreak of her 47-year-son being stopped.

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