Monday, April 22, 2024

Ukraine household displays on two years of warfare, dislocation

It’s estimated that greater than 3,000 Ukrainians have settled in Ottawa to attend out the warfare in opposition to Russia.

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Precisely two years in the past, within the darkness of the day’s predawn hours, Liliya Terenyak’s blissful life close to Kharkiv, Ukraine, was torn aside.

A college professor, yoga teacher and mom of 4 younger youngsters, Terenyak awoke to the sounds of bombs exploding. She went to her bed room window to look out on the beginning of Russia’s invasion of japanese Ukraine. It was Feb. 24, 2022.

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Terenyak’s house was solely few kilometres from a navy base in close by Chuhuiv, which got here underneath instant bombardment.

Terenyak, her husband, Artem, and their youngsters hid within the household’s chilly cellar. Inside days, the entire metropolis’s outlets have been closed as Russian troops superior westward.

“It’s tough to explain in phrases what we went via in these minutes, hours, days,” she says now. “It was a really robust time for us.”

After every week of their chilly cellar, and with the kids beginning to get sick, the household determined to mount an escape try. On March 2, 2022, they squeezed right into a small automobile — one son, six-year-old Taras, was within the trunk — and drove west via checkpoints and inspections, all the time scared of being stopped or shelled.

They drove 12 hours towards Poltava, in central Ukraine, and stayed with family members whereas they determined what to do subsequent.

Anxious that the warfare would comply with them, the Terenyaks drove throughout Ukraine into Poland on March 7. There, they launched an web seek for a secure haven and discovered a couple of program being provided by Canada.

The Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Journey provided Ukrainians prolonged non permanent standing in Canada; it will enable them to work, examine and keep right here till it was secure to return house. Greater than 220,000 individuals have entered Canada utilizing this system.

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The Terenyaks arrived in Ottawa with solely the garments on their backs in June 2022. They stayed with a number household, Peter Joice and Ashlee Mulligan, who have been amongst those that helped them adapt to their new metropolis.

“We’ll all the time keep in mind how type and beneficiant the Canadian individuals have been and can all the time preserve that in our hearts,” Terenyak says.

Three of her youngsters enrolled at Nice Park Public Faculty in September 2022. In the meantime, Terenyak landed a job at Statistics Canada, whereas her husband, an engineer, began work with a neighborhood firm that installs photo voltaic panels. The household has since moved into their very own rented house within the Alta Vista neighbourhood.

Kharkiv was liberated by Ukrainian forces in April 2022, however the space is once more underneath risk of invasion with Russian forces on the offensive.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was in Kyiv on Saturday to exhibit Canada’s solidarity with Ukraine, now getting into its third yr of warfare, and signed a deal committing this nation to a $3-billion safety help package deal.

In accordance the United Nations, greater than 10,000 Ukrainian civilians have died in the course of the warfare, a number of million have been compelled from their properties, and “scores” of Ukrainian youngsters have been forcibly deported to Russia.

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Liliya Terenyak
Liliya Terenyak is anticipating her fifth little one, a daughter, who would be the first within the household born in Canada. Picture by Ashley Fraser /Postmedia

“We’re nonetheless very anxious concerning the scenario: Now we have all our family members nonetheless there,” says Terenyak, who’s now six months pregnant together with her fifth little one. It is going to be the household’s third daughter — and their first Canadian.

“Our kids are actually excited to satisfy their new sibling,” she says.

Terenyak says her youngsters are thriving in Ottawa. They’re studying English and French whereas additionally collaborating in a number of actions akin to choir, dance, gymnastics and piano classes.

She doesn’t know what the long run holds for her household.

“We hope to return house, however I simply don’t know when,” she says. “It feels prefer it’s going to be a very long time. However we wish to save our children from this horrible warfare.”

It’s estimated that greater than 3,000 Ukrainians have settled in Ottawa to attend out the warfare. One of many metropolis’s key settlement companies for Ukrainian newcomers, Maidan Market, final week launched a GoFundMe marketing campaign to lift $60,000 to proceed its work.

Maidan Market presents English lessons, psychological well being assist, networking occasions and different providers.

Andrew Duffy is a Nationwide Newspaper Award-winning reporter and long-form characteristic author based mostly in Ottawa. To assist his work, together with unique content material for subscribers solely, join right here: ottawacitizen.com/subscribe

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