It’s been one year since war was declared on Ukraine and while Canada has opened its borders to individuals looking for safety, some Saskatchewan families are still grappling with fear for those back home.
“I was born in Kyiv and I lived there all my life before the war started,” Kateryna Soloaha, who fled Ukraine to Canada, said as she reflected on her journey over the last year. “It was a really perfect place.”
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But now, the city is far from perfect.
“To be honest I’ve cried throughout the last year because some places close to Kyiv … they are in a horrible situation right now.”
Soloaha said the last year has been very difficult, especially when it comes to communicating with her husband and family – with some days having open communication and others being very closed off.
“Right now everything is good with communication and there is heating, light and there’s internet so we can speak,” she said. “But there was a period when there was no light in Ukraine, so it was like a blackout of Ukraine.”
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She said the decision to come to Canada was not an easy one as she left many loved ones behind, but it gave a new, safer opportunity for her and her 16-year-old daughter.
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“When I knew that Canada opened the door for Ukraine people, I started to understand that if I wanted to protect my daughter from everything, we can’t (stay or go back) to Ukraine because it’s a very dangerous situation,” Soloaha said.
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And while Soloaha constantly thinks about her family back home, she has a new one in Canada.
“When I came to Canada one family invited me to live with them,” she said. “When I get to know these people they become my second family.”
Her husband, however, remains in Ukraine fighting for his family and country.
“My husband can’t leave Ukraine because he has to protect Ukraine if they need him,” she said. “I worry for my husband. I worry for everyone in Ukraine.
“No one knows what is awaiting you tomorrow.”
Soloaha hopes one day she can go back to see her family but is also worried that day might never come.
“I can’t go to Ukraine right now so for now I close the door and I don’t know if the door will open in the future,” she said.
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