By Rostyslav Averchuk
Lviv, Ukraine, Nov 11 (EFE).- Despite the lingering threat of Russian missile attacks and regular power outages, many Ukrainians are returning from abroad, driven by the need to feel at home, reunite with their loved ones and contribute to the country’s defense.
Anastasia Kondratieva lived in Kyiv and was in the sixth month of her pregnancy when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. Having given birth to her daughter in Germany, where she stayed at her relative’s home, she is now back in Ukraine, in the city of Kamianets-Podilskyi in the central-western region of Khmelnytskyi.
“I want to be together with my family in this difficult time,” Anastasia tells Efe.
She returned to Ukraine after the wave of Russian missiles and drones damaged a large part of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure in October. The reunification with her husband allowed him to see and hold his daughter for the first time.
“We are psychologically ready for the deterioration of the situation,”says Anastasia, who lists the objects she has prepared in case electricity and heating are cut off, which includes torches, gas cylinders, thermoses, power banks and warm clothes.
Still, while power outages do happen in the city, the building where her family is staying has not been affected. Anastasia believes it won’t come to a humanitarian catastrophe and remains optimistic: “I want to be here.”
She underlines though that the attitude of each Ukrainian depends on their individual circumstances – on how safe it is, how affected they are by outages, how much financial security they have and how prepared they were for Russian attacks on infrastructure.
Her former colleague Liza Kovalenko returned to Ukraine even earlier after seven months she spent with her two children and mother in Germany. Her main motivation was for the family to stay together, too.
“There came a certain moment when I felt that either I had to take roots in Germany or to go back to my husband in Ukraine”, explains Liza to Efe.
Massive missile attacks targeting infrastructure started a week after Liza returned. She admits that she is scared for her children and anxious about her financial situation. With the whole family depending on earnings she gets from giving English lessons online, she is worried she won’t be able to continue working as power outages become ever more frequent in the Vinnytsia region.
Still, she is adapting and says she feels more alive in Ukraine. “Together we can do more than separately,” Liza underlines.
She says that Germany welcomed Ukrainians and supported them enormously yet she felt the pull towards her loved one in Ukraine. Liza used to worry more about him when she was safe in Germany than she does now.
“Even if the end of the world happens tomorrow, it’s better to meet it together with the people you love”, she says.
Liza also feels she can help the Ukrainian resistance through her economic contribution.
A similar motivation is felt by Lilya Moskvitina who returned to Lviv after 1.5 months spent in France with her two children.
“Here we bake for the soldiers on the frontline and help weave masking nets for them,” says Lilya to Efe.
“It was in France that I understood even more how deeply I love Ukraine,” she reveals.
Lilya underlines however that the time abroad helped her regain some energy and sleep soundly in safety for the first time in months.
A single mother, Lilya is also worried about her ability to earn enough money amid rising prices, the lingering effects of Covid on her health and inability to work without electricity.