On warpath: Ukrainian expats in Bengaluru share their ordeal

Ukrainian expats in the city are an anxious lot as they watch the horror unfolding with each passing day. In these turbulent times, they share their angst with CE
On warpath: Ukrainian expats in Bengaluru share their ordeal

BENGALURU: Vladyslava Savytska is shocked and worried about the dangerous situation that is unfolding in her home country. The Ukrainian expatriate, who is an intern in a robotics company in Bengaluru, is in touch with her grandmother, Tamara Hordiienko, over phone only when the explosions stop. Otherwise, Hordiienko is in the basement with other residents and her dog and two cats in Irpin, which is near Kyiv. The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has kicked up an intense geopolitical battle in Europe. According to reports, Ukrainians are either fleeing the country or standing up against the Russians. And the Ukrainian expatriates in Bengaluru are an anxious lot as they watch their country torn in the face of war. While some expatriates are praying for safe transit of family to different parts of Europe, others are drumming support for their countrymen on social media.

“I am really worried about my grandmother and my country. If Russians stop fighting, the war is over but when Ukraine stops fighting, Ukraine is over. I don’t know how to get my grandmother out...my mother and I stay here in Bengaluru,” says the 23-year old, who is now back to work after emergency leave to digest all that’s happening. “It seems like a hard task to get back to office amidst the tension in my country,” says Savytska, who has been in Bengaluru for the last six months.

Anna Metelska, who is working for an American company in Hyderabad, was on a vacation to Bengaluru just last month. However, things are now precarious because her parents are stuck in Kolodyste, near Uman, while her sister is near Brovary– all shuddering the attack by Russia. However, she is also trying to garner support for her country using social media. “My Ukrainian friends and I are sharing correct information on social media and tagging those who can help spread the message. The main message is that the Russian army is killing civilians, bombing kinder gardens, schools and houses. People are hiding in the forests and women have to deliver their babies underground,” says Metelska.

Sleepless nights and stressful times- Ukrainian expat Yevheniya Marenych - who runs an event management company in Goa is drumming support from Russians and Indians in Panjim. She also visits Bengaluru regularly on business trips, but times have now changed. From organising peaceful rallies to spreading the ground realities in Ukraine on social media, she is mobilising support groups to join the information war against Russia. She is also collecting funds in Goa, sending them to a group of volunteers in Poland who are then sending them to volunteers in Ukraine.

“We just organised a peaceful rally in Panjim and yesterday we conducted a moto and car rally from Arambol to Morjhim via all villages carrying Ukrainian flags and placards. My partner and I are trying to keep it together despite the stress, and are running our company because if we don’t earn, we can’t send the funds to help people get their essentials in Ukraine,” says Marenych, whose parents are living in a cellar in Kharkiv, while her aunt and uncle’s house was bombed.

When we speak to Eugene Doroshenko, who worked with a Bengaluru-based startup in 2019, he says he is gearing up to volunteer for civil resistance. “In the past four days, more than 300 rockets were launched into Ukraine. In fact, I have moved to the western part of Ukraine and I have finished the paperwork to get my license to engage and protect the neighbourhood with the local defence forces. All we are asking the international community is to support the freedom of Ukraine,” he says.

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