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Ukrainians in NZ struggling to hear news from home

NZer view on russian attack

Tamaki Makaurau – There are about 1300 Ukrainians in New Zealand and one of them is distraught over the events happening back in her homeland.

One of them, Dunedin events advisor Olha Viazenko, came to New Zealand four years ago from Kiev, along with her husband Oleksii Ikonnikov. They have parents back in Kiev.

We have our loved ones at the centre of the war. They are sitting in the shelters now waiting for the attack which can be any time. My friends all the time see military aircrafts in the sky, hear explosions, see tanks. 

“I saw on Facebook how all my friends are writing that they were woken up by explosions.”

“I have a lot of friends all over Ukraine so was shocked to read about explosions and gunfire in many cities such as Odesa, Kharkiv, Kiev and Mariupil.

“I called my mum, she woke up as well. She tries to pretend that she is brave. We are in contact all the time since the attack started.

“It is hard not to yell or cry. I can hardly keep myself together. Nobody believed that this is possible in 21st century Europe. I’m here and my mom, my aunt, uncle, grandmother are there, and I can’t defend them,

“I can’t come and hug them, I can’t help at all. My mum lives in Kiev and she is alone there, I have an aunt and grandmother in Cherkasy, an uncle and aunt in Zaporizhzhia. I have close friends in many cities of Ukraine. My husband has all his relatives in Kiev and other regions as well.

“They are shelling airports and military bases around cities. My mom hears explosions  from time to time. She is listening and watching all the news at the same time and calls me to share them with me.

“Most of my friends decided to stay at their places and fight for the sovereignty of our country and freedom.

“Yesterday I spoke with my friend, she bought a house not long ago and she told me that she wants to grow a garden around her house this spring and she will not allow invaders to destroy her dream.

“We have strong communities all over New Zealand and we will always stand for the Ukraine. We plan several protests, letters to MPs, the Prime Minister and we are asking for support from New Zealanders.

“Yesterday Russia has effectively declared war on Ukraine. The Russian army is conducting military operations against the Ukrainian people, targeting several Ukrainian towns and cities. There are reports of explosions in the capital Kyiv, Kharkiv, Odesa, and in other places.”

The Ukrainian Armed Forces and the Ukrainian people will resist and will fight for their freedom until the day that the Russian enemy is expelled from their land, she says.

Russia attacked Ukraine. Missile strikes, military equipment, tanks, aviation. The invasion troops occupied the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Everyone will feel this war, she says.

“But the Ukrainian spirit cannot be crushed. Our country is now taking on the huge Russian army.

“Casualty numbers have not yet been confirmed, but the Ukraine has lost several of its finest today.

“At least seven Russian attack aircraft are now confirmed downed by Ukrainian defenders, in addition to at least 10 cruise missiles and several drones.

“Russian ground troops have crossed into Ukraine from the north through Chernihiv and Sumy oblasts, from the east in the direction of Kharkiv, from the south from Crimea. Battles are ongoing with the invaders.

“In the Donbas theatre, we have confirmed reports of a ground battle near the town of Shchastia. More than 100 Russian invaders are reported killed. Mariupol is under siege. Berdiansk was shelled from the sea.

“Dozens of people were killed by Russian fire, and at least 19 went missing yesterday after

Russia invaded the Ukraine from several directions.

“The world must act immediately. The future of Europe and the world is being decided now. Destructive sanctions against Russian have been put in place.”

Photo: Olha with her diploma from Otago Polytech