THE UKRAINIAN Community in Donegal will today hold their own private reflection to mark the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of their country.
Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 2022, instigating Europe’s largest refugee crisis since World War II.
There are approximately 5,000 Ukrainian refugees now living in Donegal having fled their war-torn country, in many cases leaving loved ones behind.
The unprecedented scale of the situation was met with an outpouring of generosity locally as organisations, services and communities in Donegal rallied in a major response.
Speaking to the Donegal News, Manager of Donegal Volunteer Centre, John Curran, reflected on the last 12 months. Mr Curran said tomorrow’s painful one-year anniversary will be felt by the Ukrainian community here.
“The first anniversary will be a very tough day. It will be a day for quiet reflection. These people arrived here not out of choice but from the heartbreaking reality of war. They have been adjusting to a new way of life since. We have also been adjusting to a situation, which many would not have seen in their lifetime before.”
Mr Curran said Donegal Volunteer Centre has worked with 450 Ukrainian refugees over the last year.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian mother who has been living in Letterkenny since fleeing the war, has said her first memory of Donegal is that of her son falling to sleep in safety.
Uliana Hrynyshyna and her son, aged 16, arrived in Donegal on March 24, 2022, one month after UkiraRussia’s invasion of Ukraine. They have been staying in Letterkenny since their arrival. Uliana worked as an English teacher and a Real Estate agent in Ukraine.
Uliana sits on the Donegal Community Forum as a representative voice for Ukrainian refugees. She started to volunteer with the Donegal Intercultural Platform as a translator when she arrived and now works as a translator on a part-time basis.
Ahead of the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine tomorrow, Uliana told the Donegal News: “The first thing we noticed when we got here was the silence, no rockets, no siren, no basements– our nights here were very quiet, and our kids could sleep.
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