A wooden bridge that links Ukraine to Romania has been turned into a ‘Bridge of Toys’ by local officials and volunteers.
Thousands of Ukrainians have fled into Romania over the bridge since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Romanian border police came up with the idea to reassure frightened children and give them a warm welcome.
Children can pick one of the fluffy toys that have been laid out on the small bridge, Adevarul reported.
Most Ukrainian refugees are women, some with children, and the elderly. Very few men can leave Ukraine as men aged 18-60 are conscripted into the Ukrainian forces for the war effort.
Sighetu Marmației is a small town in northern Romania set amid rolling hills and farmland.
The Tisza River to the north serves as the natural border with the Ukrainian town of Solotvyno.
When they arrive, refugees are given assistance by local officials and volunteers. Some of them plan to head to other countries, while others want to stay.
Romanians came up with the idea as many of the children are naturally confused and scared, Adevarul reported.
“They don’t understand what is happening. Many of them have been on the road for days in freezing weather,” the paper said. “They are met at the border by ordinary people, police, volunteers who wanted to give them a reason to smile.”
Apart from the fluffy toys, children also receive sweets and fruit.
Poland has also been welcoming refugees with gifts. Several strollers were left at a train station in Poland for refugee children, TMZ reported.
There are currently more than 135,000 refugees in Romania. About half a million fled to Romania since the conflict broke out.
Romania has received the second-highest number of refugees after Poland.