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Ukrainian Man Who Emigrated To Peterborough Worries About His Daughter And Grandkids Caught In The War

PETERBOROUGH-Aleks G says he feels helpless watching war break out in Ukraine while his daughter and three grandchildren are caught in the crossfire.

“It’s terrible. I cannot sleep, it’s a very difficult time. They were in Kyiv and fled when the bombing started” Aleks told Kawartha 411 News. “It was very difficult to get out and there isn’t enough gas at the gas stations and checkpoints everywhere.”

He says the four of them are safe for now in the west part of Ukraine.

“The situation is so unpredictable, of course as a father I would like to get my daughter out of Ukraine, she has three kids 7, 13, 14. Nobody knows what will happen tomorrow.”

Residents awoke to the sound of Russian bombs dropping in Kyiv on Thursday, February 24th. There was also a steady stream of blasts reported in Kharkiv which borders Russia in the northeast.  Highways because jammed as residents desperately attempted to flee, thousands of others hunkered down in subway stations.

Aleks and his wife Iryna fled Russia in 2014, emigrating to Peterborough where he works as a dump truck driver. At the time their son was attending Trent University in Peterborough and he thought it sounded like a nice place.

“I lived in Crimea. It was different what happened in Crimea. It was an occupation without war, fighting without killed people, it was peaceful enough.” He says “Still it was a terrible time for my family so we moved to Canada.”

He says he can still contact his daughter in Ukraine via social media and their location also still has hydro, which surprises him.

“I pray it stays working,” he says. “I am surprised because Kyiv now is has heavy fighting and hydro, water treatments and utilities still work. It’s winter there so if there is no hydro they would freeze to death.”

Canadian phone companies announced are waiving long-distance and text charges for calls to Ukraine. Locally Cable Cable is part of the initiative as well as Bell Canada, Rogers Communications Inc., Telus Corp. and Shaw Communications Inc.

On Saturday Ukrainian officials asked Starlink and Elon Musk to help keep lines of communication open. Musk responded that Starlink service is now active in Ukraine and more terminals were en route.

Watching the news from Ukraine and the numbers of people fleeing makes him concerned other countries will not have room for all the refugees.

He’s proud of the way his government is handling the situation and praying for a positive outcome.

“The Ukrainian government working very well, doing a great job. I am praying for my country, my president and my daughter.”

He would also like to see more weapons sent to help his countrymen along with more sanctions.

“I think it would be a big help to maybe send more weapons, different tanks and other weapons to protect Ukraine and more severe sanctions.”

Aleks says he is thankful for his life in Canada and for everyone who has reached out to him since the war broke out.

“Thank you so much to the Canadian government, they have done a lot to help Ukraine. I  appreciate Canadians, and my friends, so many people have called me to offer support. I would like to say thank you.”

(We have not published Aleks last name in order to protect his family in Ukraine)

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Pamela Vanmeer
Pamela Vanmeerhttps://www.kawartha411.ca/
Pamela VanMeer is a two time winner of the prestigious Radio Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) Award. Her investigative reports on abuse in Long Term Care Homes garnered international attention for the issue and won the Ron Laidlaw Award. She is a former reporter and anchor at CHEX News, now Global Peterborough and helped launch the New CHEX Daily, a daily half hour talk show. While at CHCH News in Hamilton she covered some of the biggest news stories of the day.

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