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A room of their own: The lives of Ukrainian women refugees

“Women’s war has its own colours, its own smells, its own lighting, and its own range of feelings. There are no heroes and incredible feats, there are simply people who are busy doing inhumanly human things.”
– Svetlana Alexievich, The Unwomanly Face of War

By now, ski season is over in the picturesque town of Zakopane in the south of Poland. The lifts that transport thousands of alpine skiers each year to the foothills of the Tatras Mountains have ground to a halt, dangling eerily in the frosty air. The trees are still mostly bare and flowerless even though it is already April. But this winter has been unusually long – and it is accompanied by the unrelenting bitterness of a war raging 250km (155 miles) away.

In early March, days after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the first refugees started arriving. They were exhausted, having travelled for days in freezing temperatures,

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