Sudbury’s Ukrainian community watches in shock and horror as Russia invades

Ukraine’s health minister reports that dozens of people have already been killed and many others injured as a result of the Russian invasion

Half a world away from devastation, Ukrainians in Sudbury can only watch in horror as Russia invades their homeland.

Russia launched a full-scale attack on Ukraine on Thursday, hitting towns and bases with airstrikes or shelling. Photos and videos from Ukraine show exactly that – scene or horror.

Ukraine’s health minister reported that 57 people had been killed and 169 injured following Russia’s declaration of war on Ukraine, Reuters reported earlier in the day.

“Everyone is crying,” said Sonia Peczeniuk, a member of Greater Sudbury’s Ukrainian community. “They are horrified. People stayed up all night trying to reach relatives there. You can hear shelling in the background, they say, and people get into cars and try to run towards Poland. We know Poland will probably take a few people, but they can’t take millions and millions and millions, can they? It’s horrible.

Peczeniuk said dozens of his family members live in Ukraine. She had been unable to reach any of them to check on their safety when she spoke to Sudbury.com on Thursday morning, she said.

“I’m trying to jump between calls,” she said, adding that she spoke to multiple media outlets today. “I try to reach them. There have also been cyberattacks, so the internet is down in some areas.

What Ukraine needs, she said, is for Canada and its allies to step up their military support, especially air and naval support.

“I think (Ukraine) really wants (the world) to up the ante on sanctions, and I mean a lot,” she said.

Ukraine also needs humanitarian aid.

“Send it,” she said. “Send field hospitals. Send support to the displaced as people are literally running around with only the clothes on their backs.

The war that is going on right now is the responsibility of one person and one person only, she said.

“(Russian President Vladamir) Putin is a macho egoist,” she said. “He has no sons. And if you know, the Eastern European mentality in men, he wants to leave a legacy. He has no bloodline. So he wants his legacy to be the restoration of the empire Russian.

Another reason for the attacks, she said, is that Putin cannot afford Ukraine to be independent and prosperous, as that would send a message to his own people that there is an alternative to his dictatorship and his “appalling” quality of life.

“Ukrainian people have never had a mess with Russian people,” she said. “They still don’t. They just don’t like Putin and his band of thugs because they rape and steal all state resources.

Halia Buba was also in tears on Thursday morning as she spent her time contacting her family in Ukraine. She called February 24, 2022 one of the darkest days since World War II when the world order is challenged.

“We have been in touch with our relatives in Ukraine,” Buba said. “A few days ago they were calm. They weren’t panicking. Now what can they do?

Buba, like many others, never thought he would actually come to an attack.

“(Putin) is an outcast,” she said. “He’s a terrorist, a lunatic, a lunatic, and I just feel for the regular person,” she said.

The Ukrainians are completely in shock; they are paralyzed by the fear of not knowing what to do, she says.

“We really need help from the West,” she said. “We need more artillery, fuel, heavy equipment and immediately freeze all (Putin’s) assets and oligarchs. Cut it off from the SWIFT banking system as well as the Nord Stream (an offshore gas pipeline system in Europe, running under the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany). He’s going to need revenue to feed and house these soldiers.

The world must stand up against Putin, she said. This conflict is the greatest security crisis since the Second World War.

“It’s not just the fate of 40 million Ukrainians,” she said. “It’s about world peace and world security.”

Buba said many Ukrainians have sworn to give their lives to defend their country and the world must prepare for the many orphans this conflict will create.

Buba was in Toronto Thursday when she spoke with Sudbury.com. When she returned to Nickel City, she said the local Ukrainian community would hold an event to show their support.

Dan de Chevigny is a Canadian currently living in Russia. He moved there to be with his Russian wife and their children.

He told Sudbury.com that everything is pretty typical right now where he lives in the city of Tyumen, in the southwestern part of the West Siberian Plain.

“Some people have started stockpiling bulk products like rice, flour and sugar,” he said.

De Chevigny said he is not too worried at the moment, but his family has started to prepare for the sanctions imposed on Russia.

The price of basic necessities has already started to rise due to the depreciation of the ruble. The US dollar jumped around 0.20 against the ruble last week.

De Chevigny says you can already see it in grocery stores.

“What would have cost us 1,700 rubles at the grocery store last week was over 2,000 today (an increase of about C$4.50),” he said.

De Chevigny launched an online store to sell camping gear. If Russia is cut off from internet access or banks are unable to release funds, it would rob Russia of around 90% of its income.

Furthermore, he said recent developments could see the Russian government appropriating money deposited in citizens’ accounts to fight sanctions against the country. This information has not been verified.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau condemned the attack on Ukraine and called on Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw all military forces from the country.

“Canada condemns in the strongest terms Russia’s blatant attack on Ukraine,” Trudeau said in a statement late Wednesday.

Trudeau told the media that these unprovoked actions constitute another clear violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. They also violate Russia’s obligations under international law and the United Nations Charter. »

Trudeau said Russia’s actions will have serious consequences.

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said in the coming days that the people of Ukraine will need our support more than ever.

“Putin waged an unprovoked war with complete disregard for innocent human life,” Singh said in his statement. “Canada must react decisively with sanctions where it hurts Putin the most – the assets of the oligarchs that enable him and the withdrawal of Russia from the SWIFT banking network.

“New Democrats are also calling on the government to prioritize humanitarian assistance and a safe haven for Ukrainians seeking refuge in Canada.

The Conservative Party of Canada and the Official Opposition issued the following statement on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine:

“The Conservative Party of Canada stands in solidarity with Ukraine and its people. Along with millions of Canadians and the Ukrainian community in Canada, we condemn Putin’s actions.

“Putin’s despicable aggression and invasion of Ukraine is unacceptable. His attack on the Ukrainian people and their democratically elected government is despicable.

“Autocrats like Putin should and will be judged harshly. Conservatives stand ready to defend the rules-based international order against these serious violations of international law.

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