Since Ukrainian refugees arrived in Manitoba earlier this year, Mykhaylo Kashyn has been connecting with his family in Kyiv whenever possible.
“We do our regular check ups like morning and evening,” he says. “If there is an air raid, obviously I do not send any messages because they need to take care of their safety.”
Kashyn left Ukraine with his wife and son three years ago and has lived in Manitoba ever since.
He’s watched his old neighbourhood in Bucha turn into a war zone while his family members who still live there get by with limited power and the constant threat of bombardment.
“Imagine we are standing here and there is a missile flying and hitting the apartment building 700 meters from here, this is the life of my family members.”
He says his family lives days without power and running water, using homemade candles to cook as missiles strike buildings around them.
“Russian missiles have destroyed about 50 per cent of Ukraine’s energy-generating infrastructure,” says Nick Krawetz, a volunteer with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Manitoba.
“This has caused widespread power outages, lack of heating and so forth, lack of electricity, lack of running water, and my family in Kyiv are certainly experiencing this as well.”
Krawetz says roughly 91,00 Ukrainian refugees have made it to the province with more on the way without intervention.
“The Russian army is becoming more and more desperate because they’re losing and they cannot sustain these losses without sort of reverting to these barbaric attacks on civilians,” he says.
“They are continuing to target the energy infrastructure because they know that this is going to create a lot of havoc on the civilian population.”
Despite the resilience of the populace, Krawetz says help is needed immediately.
“It cannot wait weeks, months, whatever it is, it has to get there now.”
Until the situation changes, Kashyn plans on doing what he can to help from Manitoba.
“I’m alive, I’m safe and here so I can do whatever I can to help my countrymen. This is not only me. This is all Ukrainians who are doing the same stuff here.”
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