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Displaced: Mum Escapes Ukraine With Her Young Daughter

Dominic Smithers

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Displaced: Mum Escapes Ukraine With Her Young Daughter

Since Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine last month, more than 3.4 million people have been forced to leave their country to escape the violence.

As Russian tanks rolled over the border, fathers said goodbye to their children, some for the last time, mothers packed up their lives and families were torn apart.

Julia, from Chernihiv, just to the north of Kyiv, was one of those who had no choice but to leave.

She picked up some clothes and a few photographs and fled with her three-year-old daughter, Yevy.

Speaking to LADbible, the 28-year-old, who worked as a store manager before the war, recalled: "It was very scary to leave, my family stayed in Chernihiv. We left everything we had.

Julia and her daughter fled their home. Credit: Supplied
Julia and her daughter fled their home. Credit: Supplied

"I needed to save my daughter, so I had to give it up."

Julia's husband, Sergei, drove them to the Slovakian border where he left them, returning home to help others in need.

"He volunteers to help refugee families with children," she said.

"People are fleeing the cities that are being bombed by Russian troops. He helps women and children find accommodation, food and essentials.

"If necessary, he will go and fight, but now there are not enough people to help refugees."

Julia and Yevy waited in the freezing cold for hours to cross the border. Credit: Supplied
Julia and Yevy waited in the freezing cold for hours to cross the border. Credit: Supplied

Alone, Julia and her daughter waited in the freezing cold for 13 hours until they were allowed to cross the border at 3am on 28 February.

Showing me a video of hundreds of women and children shouting 'let us go', she told us: "There were a lot of women with newborn children who were standing in the cold.

"My daughter had a temperature of 39.5C for four days after the trip.

Julia and her family are now living in Germany. Credit: Supplied
Julia and her family are now living in Germany. Credit: Supplied

"I was lucky to cross the border so quickly – some people stood for two days."

Fortunately, Julia's aunt, Olya, was also able to make it out of Ukraine with her young daughter and Julia's niece.

They are now all living together in Frankfurt with Doris, an airline worker who offered her home to them.

One of her sisters has now also made it to them with her daughter, and is staying with a neighbour. Her husband, however, has also stayed back to fight.

"We are so grateful [to Doris] for helping us," Julia said.

Doris (centre) has taken Julia and her family into her home. Credit: Supplied
Doris (centre) has taken Julia and her family into her home. Credit: Supplied

"I speak a little English and I have started to learn German. It is very difficult in a new country, you need to start all over again – especially when you have a child."

The rest of Julia's family have been forced to hide in their homes back in Ukraine, with little food or water.

All she can do now is 'pray' they are not killed.

"It is very painful and scary, there is no connection with my family," she said.

Julia's sister and family are hiding in a basement, with little food and water. Credit: Supplied
Julia's sister and family are hiding in a basement, with little food and water. Credit: Supplied

"My mum is sick, so it’s hard for her to hide, and my grandfather has late stage cancer. They are just at home, they are not hiding. I can only pray that their house is not destroyed.

"The rest are hiding in the Chernihiv in my sister's basement. They have no light, water or heat. There is snow on the street and it is very cold – food is also running out.

"I cry all the time when my daughter doesn't see me. My niece always asks, 'Where is my mummy and daddy?'"

Sergei returned to help other refugees escape the violence. Credit: Supplied
Sergei returned to help other refugees escape the violence. Credit: Supplied

Like so many others, all they want to do is go home and carry on with their lives.

But with Russian forces laying siege to Ukraine's towns and cities, destroying countless hospitals, schools and shops, Julia worries that she may not have a home to go to once the war is over.

She said: "I don't know if I can return to Chernihiv, it's almost razed to the ground.

Julia fears that nothing may be left of her home when the war is over. Credit: Alamy
Julia fears that nothing may be left of her home when the war is over. Credit: Alamy

"Maybe we will move with my family to another city in Ukraine. If we can return to Chernihiv, I will be very happy."

Until then, all Julia can do is continue to pray for her family and hope the war ends before it's too late.

She said: "I could never have thought that Russia would attack Ukraine. I thought they were our brothers, but it seems not."

Her message to Russian troops is a simple one.

"Nobody wants you here, this is not your land. Go away! We don't want war.

"Putin is killing our children! Wake up!"

Featured Image Credit: Supplied

Topics: Ukraine, Russia, Vladimir Putin, Politics

Dominic Smithers
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