Since Russia unleashed a series of unprovoked attacks on Ukraine on 24 February 2022, at least 102 civilians have been killed, and 304 people have been injured, UN Human Rights Chief, Michelle Bachelet, told Sky News.
Seeking refuge, an estimated 120 000 individuals have fled their homes to neighbouring countries such as Romania, Moldova, Poland, and Hungary, to escape the devastation.
Kristina Oliinyk (31), who was born in Kyiv, Ukraine, and has been living in Vredehoek, Cape Town for the last 7 years, was woken up at 4am by a distressing phone call from her mother as Putin announced the military operation.
She then turned on the TV, and watched the news in horror with concerned individuals around the world.
“I was heartbroken and felt so helpless” – says Kristina
Overcome with worry for her family, friends, and the people of her country who are currently living in fear, unable to access resources, have been displaced or injured, Kristina is appealing to the world not to turn their backs on her beloved Ukraine.
Many civilians are unable to leave, as any movement increases their risk of being shot.
My mom isn’t able to get to the bomb shelter 10 minutes from her home, in fear of losing her life, like so many who are being killed on their way to Poland.
My friend who is pregnant was faced with the difficult decision to stay home or leave, after a rocket burned down a house in her neighbourhood. Frightened for her life, and the future of her unborn child, she sleeps in a bathtub.
I have friends who stay in smaller towns, without bomb shelters who have been sleeping in their cars, unsure how tomorrow will be.
Thankfully, my sister who is looking after my gran who recently had a stroke, have both arrived safely in Warsaw.
“Every hour our soldiers are catching the rockets from Russia in the sky and it’s very intense. It’s only the beginning of this unforgivable war. People are staying in underground shelters with their little kids, pets, disabled parents. Some people don’t have anywhere to escape to” – says Kristina
“Putin ignores the fact that Ukraine has been a separate sovereign country since 1991 when the USSR collapsed. He still lives in the past and says that Ukrainians and Russians are “one”. Human rights don’t exist for Putin.”
Funding Humanitarian efforts
To assist humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and soften the impact of the crisis on the lives of ordinary people, Kristina has launched a crowdfunding campaign on, BackaBuddy, to benefit Nova Ukraine, a 501(c)3 registered non-profit organisation dedicated to strengthening civil society in Ukraine.
“Ukraine is not attacking anyone, and they never tried to expand their borders; My people are at home, protecting what belongs to them. We were born in Ukraine, and we are not going anywhere. Ukrainian people need all the support they can get at the moment.” – says Kristina
The fundraising target, which is expected to increase as more help is needed, has currently been set at R500 000 ($32 700) to help Ukrainian people and hospitals in need of essentials.
“This war is not only against Ukraine but against democracy and democratic values of the independent country which has its own traditions, language & borders, which was fighting for their rights to exist for generations. We can’t just sit and watch while a catastrophe of this scale is happening in 2022. The only hope is for the world to hear us,” says Kristina
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Funds raised by this campaign will be transferred daily to Nova Ukraine.
BackaBuddy is a global, safe and secure fundraising platform, based in South Africa that accepts donations both locally and internationally.
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