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

<strong>March 12:</strong> Families board buses to the border of Poland in Lviv, Ukraine.
Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> Families board buses to the border of Poland in Lviv, Ukraine.

Ukrainians could already travel to the EU without a visa and stay 90 days. Now, under the EU's "temporary protection directive," any Ukrainian national who fled as a result of the invasion, plus their partners and children of any nationality, may receive permission to stay in any EU country for one year.

If Ukraine remains dangerous, that status can be extended, ultimately up to three years.

EU governments are expected at a minimum to help Ukrainians find housing and to allow them to work, go to school, receive social welfare benefits and routine medical care.

They may apply for asylum at any time. And should Ukraine become safe again, EU countries are expected to help them return if they wish.

Here's a look into the last few days on the ground.

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

<strong>March 12:</strong> Families board buses to the border of Poland in Lviv, Ukraine.
/ Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> Families board buses to the border of Poland in Lviv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 12:</strong> People talk near the wrapped statue of Diana, sitting atop a fountain, near the city council in Lviv, western Ukraine.
/ Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP via Getty Images
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Yuriy Dyachyshyn/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> People talk near the wrapped statue of Diana, sitting atop a fountain, near the city council in Lviv, western Ukraine.
<strong>March 12:</strong> A mother and son sleep in a family area while waiting to board a train to Poland in Lviv, Ukraine.
/ Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
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Dan Kitwood/Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> A mother and son sleep in a family area while waiting to board a train to Poland in Lviv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 10:</strong> A Ukrainian woman who fled the war in her country takes refuge in the main hall of an athletic complex in the Moldovan capital Chisinau (Kishinev).
/ Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images
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Menahem Kahana/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 10:</strong> A Ukrainian woman who fled the war in her country takes refuge in the main hall of an athletic complex in the Moldovan capital Chisinau (Kishinev).
<strong>March 11: </strong>Ukrainians inside a bunker in Lviv, following the air raid alarm, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine.
/ Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
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Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto via Getty Images
<strong>March 11: </strong>Ukrainians inside a bunker in Lviv, following the air raid alarm, amid Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Lviv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 11:</strong> A man in a bunker for displaced persons in Kyiv, Ukraine.
/ Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
<strong>March 11:</strong> A man in a bunker for displaced persons in Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 11:</strong> People at a centre for displaced persons in Kyiv, Ukraine.
/ Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Diego Herrera Carcedo/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
<strong>March 11:</strong> People at a centre for displaced persons in Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 12: </strong>Residents try to strengthen the wall of a house damaged by recent shelling, on the outskirts Kyiv.
/ Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images
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Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 12: </strong>Residents try to strengthen the wall of a house damaged by recent shelling, on the outskirts Kyiv.
<strong>March 12: </strong>A Ukrainian serviceman exits a damaged building after shelling in Kyiv.
/ Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images
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Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 12: </strong>A Ukrainian serviceman exits a damaged building after shelling in Kyiv.
<strong>March 10:</strong> Residents of Irpin and Bucha flee fighting via a destroyed bridge in Irpin, Ukraine. Irpin, a suburb northwest of Kyiv, had experienced days of sustained shelling by Russian forces advancing toward the capital.
/ Chris McGrath/Getty Images
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Chris McGrath/Getty Images
<strong>March 10:</strong> Residents of Irpin and Bucha flee fighting via a destroyed bridge in Irpin, Ukraine. Irpin, a suburb northwest of Kyiv, had experienced days of sustained shelling by Russian forces advancing toward the capital.
<strong>March 12:</strong> A view to the road and the smoke coming from the storage facility in Brovary, Ukraine.
/ Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images
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Anastasia Vlasova/Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> A view to the road and the smoke coming from the storage facility in Brovary, Ukraine.
<strong>March 10: </strong>Trenches are prepared by the side of the road as a precaution amid Russian attacks, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
/ Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Emin Sansar/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
<strong>March 10: </strong>Trenches are prepared by the side of the road as a precaution amid Russian attacks, in Kyiv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 12:</strong> A Ukrainian soldier examines a destroyed Russian armoured personal carrier (APC) in Irpin, north of Kyiv.
/ Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images
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Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> A Ukrainian soldier examines a destroyed Russian armoured personal carrier (APC) in Irpin, north of Kyiv.
<strong>March 12:</strong> Firefighters extinguish a fire on a house after shelling on the 17th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv.
/ Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images
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Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> Firefighters extinguish a fire on a house after shelling on the 17th day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv.
<strong>March 12:</strong> Police officers and residents stand next to a shell crater in front of a house damaged by recent shelling, on the outskirts Kyiv.
/ Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images
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Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> Police officers and residents stand next to a shell crater in front of a house damaged by recent shelling, on the outskirts Kyiv.
<strong>March 11:</strong> Funeral ceremony is held for three Ukrainian servicemen Taras Didukh (25), Andrii Stefanyshyn (39) and Dmytro Kabakov (58) in Lviv, Ukraine.
/ Alejandro Martinez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Alejandro Martinez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
<strong>March 11:</strong> Funeral ceremony is held for three Ukrainian servicemen Taras Didukh (25), Andrii Stefanyshyn (39) and Dmytro Kabakov (58) in Lviv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 11:</strong> Funeral ceremony is held for three Ukrainian servicemen Taras Didukh (25), Andrii Stefanyshyn (39) and Dmytro Kabakov (58) in Lviv, Ukraine.
/ Alejandro Martinez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
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Alejandro Martinez/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
<strong>March 11:</strong> Funeral ceremony is held for three Ukrainian servicemen Taras Didukh (25), Andrii Stefanyshyn (39) and Dmytro Kabakov (58) in Lviv, Ukraine.
<strong>March 12:</strong> A Ukranian serviceman walks towards the front line in the city of Irpin, northern Ukraine.
/ Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images
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Aris Messinis/AFP via Getty Images
<strong>March 12:</strong> A Ukranian serviceman walks towards the front line in the city of Irpin, northern Ukraine.