There are many times in life when we take things for granted and don’t appreciate how great we have it here in Canada.
We tend to get caught up in the daily minutia of life, like shopping and going to work, and rarely step back and take in what we are so blessed to have around us.
We live in a first-world country and don’t usually have to worry much about getting shot in our cars, or worse, while out doing chores.
But reading about Yuilya Kozrp who, along with her teenage daughter Viktoriia, barely escaped the Ukrainian city of Irpin last winter when the Russian military invaded the country, was a wake-up call about how lucky we are.
Kozrp said, even though Russian soldiers and military equipment had been building up on the Ukrainian border for months very close to her city, she was still surprised when she woke up in her apartment on Feb. 24, 2021, in Irpin to the sound of explosions.
She said it was hard to believe.
“After all, we live in the 21st century, in a civilized world in a peaceful country in the centre of Europe,” said Kozrp, who now lives in Sooke with her daughter.
What was once a beautiful European city was relentlessly pounded almost to dust by Russian artillery and tank shells, and most of Irpin’s inhabitants were forced into their basements in an attempt to find some sort of safety from the indiscriminate bombing.
When Kozrp realized that she and Viktoriia were in extreme danger every day and their situation was not getting any better, they headed to the city’s train station through deadly streets in an effort to escape and, along with everyone else who was there, were forced to flee the station when the Russians started shelling it.
A passing motorist who was quickly heading out of Irpin with his family was kind enough to pull over and put Kozrp and Viktoriia in his trunk before they were hurt or killed on the street.
After going through several Ukrainian road blocks, which could very well have been Russian road blocks, they finally ended up in another city about 30 kilometres west of Irpin where the war hadn’t touched up to that point.
“It was unusual for us to see people just walking down the street; the ATMs worked and shops were open. Only some muffled explosions were heard from very, very far away,” Kozrp said.
Having been driven from their home and homeland by the war, Kozrp and Viktoriia went from one European country to another before they finally settled on Vancouver Island and found peace in their lives once again.
It’s hard to believe in this day and age that such atrocities are still being forced on people.
All those pictures of a destroyed Europe at the end of the Second World War in history books have come to life again in Ukraine, and there seems to be no end in sight for that badly damaged but brave country.
Local people will have the opportunity to hear Kozrp’s story and talk to her on Oct. 15 at a fundraiser to assist children in Ukraine impacted by the war that will be held at Birds Eye Cove Farm in Maple Bay where she will be the keynote speaker.
The Child of War fundraiser is being sponsored by the Ukrainian Canadian Advocacy Group and will also include an exhibit called War in Living Colour, a silent auction, live jazz music, cash bar and a dinner.
Tickets for the event, which begins at 4 p.m., are $125 each and donations will be accepted and appreciated.
Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased at email@example.com using auto transfer, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Call 250-616-8896 for further information.
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