Ukraine: helpless thousands of kilometers from her family

Ukraine: helpless thousands of kilometers from his family

Viktoriya Savchenko was born in Ukraine, but immigrated to Quebec in 2004.

For nearly a week, Viktoriya Savchenko has not hardly sleeps anymore: his native country is invaded by Russia. The young Montrealer of Ukrainian origin is crying out for military aid from the international community.

On February 24, Russian Head of State Vladimir Putin launched a special military intervention in Ukraine, the largest military offensive in Europe since World War II. “My whole body was shaking. I couldn't understand what we were going through. The more it went, the more we received information that more and more cities were being bombed, so we began to understand that it was becoming major, ”she recalls.

“We live in a parallel world”

Viktoriya Savchenko is one of 20,000 people from the Ukrainian community in Montreal plagued by fear and uncertainty. “All Ukrainians, both in Ukraine and abroad, we have been living in another reality since the moment it started. It’s completely a parallel world right now,” she said.

Born in the city of Zhytomyr, not far from the capital Kiev, she immigrated to Montreal with her parents in 2004 when she was seven years old. All the rest of his family is still there. “On the morning of February 24, part of my family that I had in Kiev left the city quickly by car and joined my grandmother who lives in a small town in the Kiev region. Small towns are safer because they attack big cities,” she says.

Now 24, Viktoriya Savchenko would never have imagined that her native country would be at war in 2022. “We were still aware that there was this possibility of a slightly more intense war, but that it would go as far as “To bomb the city where I spent my childhood and where my family is now, never in my life could I have imagined that it would escalate to such a point,” she says.

The conflict is not new, she recalls, however. “It started in 2014 with the annexation of Crimea, with attacks in the Donbass, so in territories not controlled by the government of Ukraine,” she said.

Call for international help in the air

If she believes that there have already been “a lot of violations” in recent years in Ukraine, Viktoriya Savchenko indicates that the war is a stage “so intense” that it requires emergency intervention on the part of the community international.

We just want to be heard. We need help from the international community.

Viktoriya Savchenko

According to the Montrealer, the Ukrainian army is “very strong” and will be able to fight Russian soldiers on the ground. However, Viktoriya Savchenko pleads for international help to fight the Russian armed forces in the air.

Indeed, many Russian bombardments on Ukrainian institutions and buildings are made from the sky and kill civilians. “We are trying to focus on protecting the skies over Ukraine. NATO has the power to close the skies, to make a no-fly zoneover Ukraine. All the Russian planes and missiles that will pass over Ukraine can be stopped,” she said.

For the moment, the NATO countries are not considering to go militarily to the defense of Ukraine, at the risk of triggering a third world war.

A “major danger” for the world

Above all, the Ukrainians are trying to make the world understand that this war goes beyond the borders of the two countries that are fighting each other, says Viktoriya Savchenko. “It is a major danger for all of Europe and for everyone. How far will it go? We have to stop that, ”she continues.

She finds it deplorable that institutions and countries as powerful as the United States or members of NATO do not realize the importance of what is happening.

“It is a crime against humanity that is happening in the largest country in Europe. It is much more than a conflict somewhere in a country and we do not want to get involved. It is very serious and the consequences can be even more serious”, she laments. 

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