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Driffield woman’s fears for her home country Ukraine

Ukrainian national Tanya Wing, who has lived in Driffield for the past three years, has spoken of her fears for her family and friends back home and her hopes for a swift resolution to the conflict.

She said she feels helpless and frustrated by the needless devastation of her home country, but vowed that the Ukrainian people would do all they can to protect their independence.

Tanya is from the central Ukraine town of Uman, around 250km south of Kyiv, where her 74-year-old mother still lives. Her sister is in nearby Cherkasy and her nephew is in western Ukraine.

Despite pleading with her family to move further west or leave Ukraine, she said they have pledged to stay for now.

I am desperate for my mother to be safe, but I think she thinks if she leaves, she will not have a home to return to.

Tanya wing

Tanya told the Wolds Weekly: “My mum is probably the most positive of all of us, but she is scared to leave her house because she constantly hears the sirens.

“Every day when I speak to her, I ask her to leave or to come over here but she categorically will not leave her house. I am desperate for her to be safe, but I think she thinks if she leaves, she will not have a home to return to.

“There have only been two moments in my life when I have found myself so frustrated, useless and hopeless; the first was when my dad passed away, and the second was when my sister rang me on 24th February to say that Russia had invaded. It is really terrible.”

She said that it came as a huge surprise to the Ukrainian people when Russia began their invasion and no-one expected it would really happen.

“I think it came as a huge surprise to everyone in Ukraine, even though troops were on the borders. People couldn’t believe they would do this. A lot of people still can’t believe it.

“There is so much anger and aggression but at least we know what we die for, to defend our country, do the Russian soldiers know what they are dying for? I don’t think they do.

“Putin has made it clear he doesn’t want a peaceful resolution, he wants Ukraine. If he concedes, it will be like he recognised he was wrong and he will lose face in front of the rest of the world.

“Somebody like this who has started a war will never be ready to give up without achieving their purpose.
“The only way will be for the people of Russia to stand up.”

Tanya said she is overwhelmed by the support Ukraine has received from the rest of the world and feels grateful to the support shown to her by the community in Driffield.

“We are so grateful for the response from the rest of the world towards the people of Ukraine,” she said.
“I think one of the mistakes of Putin is that he didn’t expect the rest of the world to react like this.

“All of the aid and the help that is being sent to Ukraine is really amazing and it gives the people of Ukraine hope that the rest of the world is with them.

“I have spoken to the owners of some shops in Driffield who have put Ukrainian flags in their windows and they were so sympathetic and friendly and said it was just a small gesture, but I said all the small gestures mean so much because they all add up and make a difference.”

Tanya said she prays daily for a resolution to the conflict for the sake of her friends and family in Ukraine.

“It has been an eye opener for everyone the way in which the Ukrainian people have been ready to protect their independence,” she added.

“The unity of the Ukrainian people is amazing. People are really helpful; I have friends helping my mum in Uman and they will give the last of what they have to support each other.

“Many of my friends have all said they plan to stay. The situation with the nuclear power station is very frightening and could be a global environmental problem for everyone.

“I believe Putin has plans further than just Ukraine and that everyone needs to help us to protect themselves.

“We would like the west to help us protect our air space as it is not fair that they are destroying our country.

“Our hospitals, schools, churches are being destroyed and for what? The stupidity of the situation is frustrating.

“For the sake of our children, we pray this will end sooner rather than later.

“We will do our best to survive and protect our country and I don’t think we will ever give up. We are an independent country and we deserve our independence.”

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