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Ukrainians displaced by war deeply affected by a year of conflict

“Democracy should win,” says Ukrainian Montrealer Tetiana Skarzhanovska, one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began she is hopeful the war will end soon, but says her life may never be the same. Felisha Adam reports.

A year into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Ukrainians reflect on enduring hardships in a year of conflict.

“It’s like you hold your breath and you just wait and hope and continue doing everything. But you’re just with your breath holding, so you cannot properly go back to your normal life,” said Tetiana Skarzhanovska a Ukrainian Montrealer.

We spoke to Ukrainian Montrealer Tetiana Skarzhanovska and her sister-in-law Alla Tkachenko in 2022.

RELATED: Montrealer concerned for loved ones as hometown is destroyed in Ukraine

At the time, Tkachenko lived in Ukraine and Russia had just invaded the country. Now, a year later, with her husband and son still fighting the war there, she and her sister-in-law say they are hopeful – although their lives – and millions of others, may never be the same.

“I don’t know how life can get back to normal when with so many losses and so many emotions and grief,” said Skarzhanovska

The year for Skarzhanovska, a rollercoaster of emotions with many sleepless nights – with family and friends still in Ukraine – her father at the age of 54 was called to serve not long after we last spoke.

Tetiana Skarzhanovska Father (Credit: Tetiana Skarzhanovska)

She says that “definitely it’s a whole new step of weariness. I didn’t know you exist, but again, you just hold your breath even more and you hope that you’ll see him. It will be over and you’ll see him at this point is the question, am I going to see my family again or or no, you don’t know.”

According to the UN Refugee Agency there are nearly 8 million individuals from Ukraine who have been displaced by the war.

“I was so a big optimist. Now I’m a realist,” said Alla Tkachenko a Ukrainian asylum seeker

Skarzhanovska’s sister-in-law Alla Tkachenko – now in living in Scotland with her daughter – says while she’s thankful for her temporary home, being a part from her husband and son for now more than six months has been hard.

(Credit: Alla Tkachenko )

Tkachenko says “we think every day about our family, about my husband, my son is a they are in Ukraine. They support our army. But we are living apart.

(Credit: Alla Tkachenko )

“It’s so hard because all our life we were together for more than 20 years. We were together. And it’s hard it’s really hard for me. I miss my home. I miss my family.”

Now a year since the Russian invasion first began, Tkachenko says while the end of the war does not seem close Ukrainians continue to be strong and resilient.

“Now we are more stronger and we know that our army is so brave, so strong. It’s a long way. But I, believe in our victory. I know we will be winners.


Skarzhanovska says even though it’s been a year the war is still happening and those in Ukraine are still faced with the same reality.

“It’s even worse because a year ago we didn’t have so many losses, we didn’t have so many innocent children killed and everything single day. The numbers are growing and growing. The numbers of villages completely destroyed, growing the numbers of people killed, growing the numbers of military men killed growing.

“So the support should be growing. The talks about that should be growing. It should be the same. It should be even more than a year ago, because it’s not over. It’s happening every single day.”

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