As global outrage against Russia continues and the threats of more sanctions loom, at least one Ukrainian-Canadian is hoping the world will do more.
“Ukrainians fight bravely, but it’s not enough,” says Yevgen Kanevskiy, who lives in Calgary. “They need to have more (military) help.”
Kanevskiy left his home in Kharkiv, Ukraine, about 16 years ago. When he did, he never thought his family and friends who stayed would experience the nightmare of war.
“On Feb. 24, some of our friends called us and said, ‘Ok, it started,'” said Kanevskiy, talking about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. “We were in tears.”
It’s now April, and it’s not any easier.
“We worry about them every single minute,” said Kanevskiy. “Every morning, our time, we start with texting them and figuring out whether they survived their day.”
Kanevskiy is part of the congregation at St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Orthodox Church. He is one of the members who is opening up his home to four people who have fled from Ukraine to Slovenia.
“They are waiting for their visas and we are expecting them so (we’ve prepared) our house for hosting people,” he said.
Calgary’s Centre for Newcomers is also getting ready for those seeking asylum in Canada and say it could number in the thousands.
“It’s better to prepare for the thousands,” said president and CEO Anila Lee Yuen.
“If we don’t get the thousands, then we have that those resources and the supplies and the volunteers and everything for the rest of the community.”
Between March 17 and March 30, Canada saw 91,000 applications from Ukrainian people to come to Canada, according to the centre.
“During that time, in those two weeks, there was 14,000 that have been approved,” said Lee Yuen.
“I’m assuming that those numbers have now increased in terms of people that are actually arriving, and it’s going to get even larger in terms of those applications.”
Lee Yuen says the centre will focus on getting anyone coming to Calgary settled and offering any support they might need.
“(There are) long-term goals as well in terms of employment support, in terms of mental health supports,” she said.