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Photos: Evacuees flee Russian aggression, leaving cities and loved ones behind

<strong>March 17:</strong> The mother of Maj. Ivan Skrypnyk, who was killed during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, mourns over his flag-draped coffin during a funeral ceremony in Lviv.
Yuriy Dyachyshyn
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 17:</strong> The mother of Maj. Ivan Skrypnyk, who was killed during Russia's invasion of Ukraine, mourns over his flag-draped coffin during a funeral ceremony in Lviv.

Updated March 17, 2022 at 2:33 PM ET

Editor's note: Graphic content

Russia intensified its attacks on western Ukraine this week while bringing devastation to the people of Mariupol, a port city on the nation's southern coast.

Russian forces launched a series of strikes against a Ukrainian air base near the town of Yavoriv, killing at least 35 people. The facility is located between Lviv, the largest city in western Ukraine, and the border with Poland, a NATO member.

In Mariupol, 20,000 civilians were able to flee the shelling and dire shortage of food and water. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy compared Russia's siege to the deadly Nazi blockade of Leningrad during World War II.

More than 3 million Ukrainians have fled their homes since Russia invaded more than two weeks ago, and around 2 million of the refugees — equivalent to the entire population of Warsaw — are believed to have fled to Poland.

Polish authorities are converting sports arenas into shelters to house refugees, and scores of volunteers are helping people who cross the border find rides to safer areas.

Here's a look at the situation on the ground this week:

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

<strong>March 16:</strong> Ukrainian servicemen prepare to fire salutes during the funeral of their comrades, Roman Rak and Mykola Mykytiuk, in Starychi, Ukraine. Rak and Mykytiu were killed during Russia's missile strike Sunday on a military training base in Yavoriv.
Bernat Armangue / AP
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AP
<strong>March 16:</strong> Ukrainian servicemen prepare to fire salutes during the funeral of their comrades, Roman Rak and Mykola Mykytiuk, in Starychi, Ukraine. Rak and Mykytiu were killed during Russia's missile strike Sunday on a military training base in Yavoriv.
<strong>March 16:</strong> Evacuees from Mariupol are seen upon arrival at the car park of a shopping center on the outskirts of the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is now a registration center for displaced people.
Emre Caylak / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 16:</strong> Evacuees from Mariupol are seen upon arrival at the car park of a shopping center on the outskirts of the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is now a registration center for displaced people.
<strong>March 17:</strong> People walk by a building in Kyiv damaged by Russian shelling as Russian troops try to encircle the nation's capital as part of their slow-moving offensive.
Sergei Supinsky / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 17:</strong> People walk by a building in Kyiv damaged by Russian shelling as Russian troops try to encircle the nation's capital as part of their slow-moving offensive.
<strong>March 17:</strong> A police officer looks through the window of a damaged flat in a residential building that was hit by the debris of a downed rocket in Kyiv. One person was killed and three were injured when the debris hit an apartment block, according to Ukraine's emergency services.
Fadel Senna / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 17:</strong> A police officer looks through the window of a damaged flat in a residential building that was hit by the debris of a downed rocket in Kyiv. One person was killed and three were injured when the debris hit an apartment block, according to Ukraine's emergency services.
<strong>March 17:</strong> People who fled the war in Ukraine wait at the train station in Przemysl, Poland. Russia's invasion entered its fourth week on Thursday, with Russian forces largely bogged down outside major cities and shelling them from a distance, raining havoc on the civilians who still live there.
Petros Giannakouris / AP
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AP
<strong>March 17:</strong> People who fled the war in Ukraine wait at the train station in Przemysl, Poland. Russia's invasion entered its fourth week on Thursday, with Russian forces largely bogged down outside major cities and shelling them from a distance, raining havoc on the civilians who still live there.
<strong>March 17:</strong> A man injured in a bombing lies on a stretcher in a hospital hallway during an air raid alarm in Brovary, north of Kyiv.
Felipe Dana / AP
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AP
<strong>March 17:</strong> A man injured in a bombing lies on a stretcher in a hospital hallway during an air raid alarm in Brovary, north of Kyiv.
<strong>March 16:</strong> A woman sits on a makeshift bed in one of Lviv's theaters that's become a shelter in recent weeks. Lviv has served as a stopover and shelter for the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the invasion, either to the safety of nearby countries or the relative security of western Ukraine.
Alexey Furman / Getty Images
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Getty Images
<strong>March 16:</strong> A woman sits on a makeshift bed in one of Lviv's theaters that's become a shelter in recent weeks. Lviv has served as a stopover and shelter for the millions of Ukrainians fleeing the invasion, either to the safety of nearby countries or the relative security of western Ukraine.
<strong>March 17:</strong> People clear debris outside a medical center damaged after parts of a Russian missile, shot down by Ukrainian air defense, landed on a nearby apartment block in Kyiv, according to authorities.
Vadim Ghirda / AP
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AP
<strong>March 17:</strong> People clear debris outside a medical center damaged after parts of a Russian missile, shot down by Ukrainian air defense, landed on a nearby apartment block in Kyiv, according to authorities.
<strong>March 17:</strong> Igor, a 40-year-old Ukrainian soldier, embraces his wife in Odessa.
Bulent Kilic / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 17:</strong> Igor, a 40-year-old Ukrainian soldier, embraces his wife in Odessa.
<strong>March 16:</strong> People fleeing Ukraine travel on a humanitarian train organized by the Slovak Rail Company to bring refugees from Ukraine to Kosice, Slovakia, in Chop, Ukraine. The train departs for Slovakia twice a day, bringing hundreds from Chop, on Ukraine's border with Hungary.
Christopher Furlong / Getty Images
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Getty Images
<strong>March 16:</strong> People fleeing Ukraine travel on a humanitarian train organized by the Slovak Rail Company to bring refugees from Ukraine to Kosice, Slovakia, in Chop, Ukraine. The train departs for Slovakia twice a day, bringing hundreds from Chop, on Ukraine's border with Hungary.
<strong>March 16:</strong> Smoke rises after an explosion in Kyiv.
Aris Messinis / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 16:</strong> Smoke rises after an explosion in Kyiv.
<strong>March 15:</strong> The mother of Col. Oleh Yaschyshyn reacts at the side of her son's coffin during funerals for Yaschyshyn, Sergiy Melnyk and Rostyslav Romanchuk — Ukrainian servicemen killed in Russia's invasion — at the Lychakiv cemetery in the western city of Lviv.
Yuriy Dyachyshyn / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 15:</strong> The mother of Col. Oleh Yaschyshyn reacts at the side of her son's coffin during funerals for Yaschyshyn, Sergiy Melnyk and Rostyslav Romanchuk — Ukrainian servicemen killed in Russia's invasion — at the Lychakiv cemetery in the western city of Lviv.
<strong>March 15:</strong> Ukrainians sort through the debris after a residential building in Kyiv was hit by a rocket.
Anastasia Vlasova / Getty Images
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Getty Images
<strong>March 15:</strong> Ukrainians sort through the debris after a residential building in Kyiv was hit by a rocket.
<strong>March 15:</strong> Natasha looks after her 1-year-old son, Vlad, inside an indoor sports stadium being used as a refugee center near the Ukraine border in the village of Medyka, Poland.
Petros Giannakouris / AP
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AP
<strong>March 15:</strong> Natasha looks after her 1-year-old son, Vlad, inside an indoor sports stadium being used as a refugee center near the Ukraine border in the village of Medyka, Poland.
<strong>March 15:</strong> People who fled the war in Ukraine leave the train station in Przemysl, Poland.
Petros Giannakouris / AP
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AP
<strong>March 15:</strong> People who fled the war in Ukraine leave the train station in Przemysl, Poland.
<strong>March 15:</strong> A car rides away from a Ukrainian military check point in the center of Kyiv on the 20th day of the Russian invasion.
Fadel Senna / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 15:</strong> A car rides away from a Ukrainian military check point in the center of Kyiv on the 20th day of the Russian invasion.
<strong>March 15:</strong> A man removes the rubble from his flat in Kyiv.
Anastasia Vlasova / Getty Images
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Getty Images
<strong>March 15:</strong> A man removes the rubble from his flat in Kyiv.
<strong>March 15:</strong> People attend a funeral ceremony for four Ukrainian servicemen who were killed in an airstrike on a military base in Yavoriv, near Lviv.
Bernat Armangue / AP
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AP
<strong>March 15:</strong> People attend a funeral ceremony for four Ukrainian servicemen who were killed in an airstrike on a military base in Yavoriv, near Lviv.
<strong>March 15:</strong> Ukrainian servicemen sit through a funeral service for Oleh Yaschyshyn, Sergiy Melnyk, Rostyslav Romanchuk and Kyrylo Vyshyvany at a church in Lviv.
Alexey Furman / Getty Images
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Getty Images
<strong>March 15:</strong> Ukrainian servicemen sit through a funeral service for Oleh Yaschyshyn, Sergiy Melnyk, Rostyslav Romanchuk and Kyrylo Vyshyvany at a church in Lviv.
<strong>March 15:</strong> Firefighters climb a ladder while working to extinguish a blaze in a bombed out apartment building in a residential area of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Vadim Ghirda / AP
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AP
<strong>March 15:</strong> Firefighters climb a ladder while working to extinguish a blaze in a bombed out apartment building in a residential area of Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 15:</strong> A resident is comforted by an emergency services worker at a residential apartment building in the Sviatoshynskyi District of Kyiv, Ukraine, after it was hit by a Russian attack in the early morning hours Tuesday.
Chris McGrath / Getty Images
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Getty Images
<strong>March 15:</strong> A resident is comforted by an emergency services worker at a residential apartment building in the Sviatoshynskyi District of Kyiv, Ukraine, after it was hit by a Russian attack in the early morning hours Tuesday.
<strong>March 15:</strong> A resident stands in her Kyiv, Ukraine, apartment after it was damaged by Russian shelling that killed at least two people.
Fadel Senna / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 15:</strong> A resident stands in her Kyiv, Ukraine, apartment after it was damaged by Russian shelling that killed at least two people.
<strong>March 14:</strong> Members of the Ukrainian military stand amid debris from an apartment block struck by a Russian rocket that was shot down by Ukrainian air defenses in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Chris McGrath / Getty Images
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Getty Images
<strong>March 14:</strong> Members of the Ukrainian military stand amid debris from an apartment block struck by a Russian rocket that was shot down by Ukrainian air defenses in Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 15:</strong> An elderly woman is helped by police officers after she was rescued by firefighters from inside her apartment after bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine. Russia's offensive in Ukraine has edged closer to central Kyiv, with a series of strikes hitting a residential neighborhood as the leaders of three European Union-member countries planned a visit to the embattled capital Tuesday.
Felipe Dana / AP
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AP
<strong>March 15:</strong> An elderly woman is helped by police officers after she was rescued by firefighters from inside her apartment after bombing in Kyiv, Ukraine. Russia's offensive in Ukraine has edged closer to central Kyiv, with a series of strikes hitting a residential neighborhood as the leaders of three European Union-member countries planned a visit to the embattled capital Tuesday.
<strong>March 15:</strong> An elderly resident waits to be rescued by firefighters after the apartment building was hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine.
Felipe Dana / AP
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AP
<strong>March 15:</strong> An elderly resident waits to be rescued by firefighters after the apartment building was hit by shelling in Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 15:</strong> Neighbors examine the remains of a missile in the yard of a private house hit by shelling in the Osokorky District of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Genya Savilov / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 15:</strong> Neighbors examine the remains of a missile in the yard of a private house hit by shelling in the Osokorky District of Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 14:</strong> A woman reacts as she stands outside a ruined apartment building after it was shelled by Russian forces in the northwestern Obolon district of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Aris Messinis / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 14:</strong> A woman reacts as she stands outside a ruined apartment building after it was shelled by Russian forces in the northwestern Obolon district of Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 13:</strong> A firefighter drags a hose inside a large food storage facility that was destroyed by an airstrike in the early morning hours on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Vadim Ghirda / AP
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AP
<strong>March 13:</strong> A firefighter drags a hose inside a large food storage facility that was destroyed by an airstrike in the early morning hours on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 13:</strong> Displaced Ukrainians board a train bound for Poland in Lviv, Ukraine, which has largely been spared the kind of destruction seen to the south and east.
Bernat Armangue / AP
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AP
<strong>March 13:</strong> Displaced Ukrainians board a train bound for Poland in Lviv, Ukraine, which has largely been spared the kind of destruction seen to the south and east.
<strong>March 13:</strong> Ukrainian soldiers take cover from incoming artillery fire in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, Ukraine.
Felipe Dana / AP
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AP
<strong>March 13:</strong> Ukrainian soldiers take cover from incoming artillery fire in Irpin, a suburb of Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 13:</strong> A Ukrainian serviceman walks carefully with his weapon in the city of Irpin. Russian forces advance ever closer to the capital from the north, west and northeast. Russian strikes also destroy an airport in the town of Vasylkiv, south of Kyiv.
Aris Messinis / AFP via Getty Images
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AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 13:</strong> A Ukrainian serviceman walks carefully with his weapon in the city of Irpin. Russian forces advance ever closer to the capital from the north, west and northeast. Russian strikes also destroy an airport in the town of Vasylkiv, south of Kyiv.