Dispatches from Ukraine – Through Poland

Scene from a train from Warsaw to the Ukraine border. (Photo by Matthew Hatcher/Special to the Bloomingtonian)

Warsaw, Poland, March 10, 2022

By Matthew Hatcher – Special columnist for the Bloomingtonian

The last time this land saw warfare the soil was drenched in blood, bone meal, and human ash. Taking the train from Warsaw to Krakow to the border you see how much the landscape looks like that of back home.

Rolling garland, grey and brown winter tones, country roads winding through crops of wood. You can’t help but think back to when panzers and Einsatzgruppen units combed the same land, the land that looks like your own home bringing some of the most atrocious acts of violence in the history of mankind. How easily such things can take place anywhere else with just the right ingredients.

The situation in Kyiv has grown dire, there is a threat of it being surrounded. Rumors of an imminent invasion haunt the hearsay. Beyond that there is the threat of bandits who are robbing refugees and travelers, then there are the everchanging lines of control, what one day was a Ukrainian checkpoint can overnight become manned by Russians, who now have been firing upon journalists.

The amount of money needed to get around Kyiv and get a hotel in Kyiv is astronomical. These are all things that work against us getting there, but despite all this a flame of aggravation sits in my chest, despite all the logic that entails a justified change of plans.


Matthew Hatcher worked as a photojournalism intern at a newspaper in Bloomington in 2014, and currently works as an independent visual journalist based in Detroit.

Rate this post

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 3.7 / 5. Vote count: 9

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

Liked it? Take a second to support The Bloomingtonian on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!