Fleeing children are separated from parents returning to Ukraine to fight Russian invasion

Ukrainians are arriving at Polish border towns, where ITV News Correspondent Lucy Watson is witnessing heartbreaking scenes.

Refugee children are arriving in countries bordering Ukraine and being whisked to safety by volunteers as their parents return to fight the Russian conflict.

The United Nations estimates that up to 4 million people could flee if the fighting escalates.

ITV News reporter Lucy Watson is in Rzeszow, Poland, at a train station about 50 miles from the border with Ukraine, witnessing extraordinary scenes of solidarity as Polish people come to their neighbours' aid.

Volunteers have set up a relief effort at the station, to help feed and care for weary Ukrainians forced to flee across the border.

As ITV News visited the busy station on Saturday morning, more trains were arriving from border towns with women and children on board.

Many of the men who had arrived with them were being asked to go back and fight, as Ukraine brought in emergency conscription law banning men aged between 18-60 from travelling abroad.

In one of the most harrowing scenes the team witnessed, a man from Ukraine and his two daughters arrived overnight.

He and a volunteer planned to ferry them to safety in Warsaw.

But once they arrived, he said he would leave his children behind and return to his police office wife's side in Kyiv - because he wants to fight.

New arrivals on Saturday morning mixed with crowds immersed in urgent phonecalls, as many volunteers turned up to offer beds, food and help.

Some volunteers had travelled from as far as Warsaw, five hours' drive away, to offer support.

Lucy Watson meets an eight-year-old Ukrainian boy volunteering at a Polish train station. Credit: ITV News

Others at the station were phoning their relatives, asking them to join the effort.

An eight-year-old boy from Lyviv was among the volunteers packing sweets at the train station.

Dmitri, a refugee from Ukraine himself, had fled from Lviv on foot, in a journey that took hours to complete.

He hopes to make his way to Austria, but in the meantime is putting sweets into bags for children who continue to arrive into the Polish railway station from Ukraine.

The UN refugee agency says nearly 120,000 people have so far fled Ukraine into neighboring countries in the wake of the Russian invasion.

A child looks through a window of a bus carrying Ukraine refugees fleeing the conflict in the border town of Przemysl, Poland. Credit: AP

The number was going up fast as Ukrainians grabbed their belongings and rushed to escape from a deadly Russian onslaught.

A UN High Commissioner for Refugees official described the situation as "very fluid and changing by the hour.”

A Polish border guard assists refugees from Ukraine as they arrive to Poland at the Korczowa border crossing, Poland. Credit: AP

The UN official said most were heading to neighboring Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, and even some into Belarus — from where some Russian forces entered Ukraine.

The UN's High Commissioner for Refugees tweeted: “Latest update is that almost 116,000 have fled to neighbouring countries since 24 Feb – mainly Poland, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania.

“Numbers are rising.”