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Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Emergency kits and a backpack: Ukrainians consider flee or stay

Olga Tokariuk Kiev, Jan 24 (EFE).- The Ukrainians are preparing for a possible attack against their country. Everyone crosses their fingers so that a new escalation by Russia does not occur, but some are already preparing their suitcases and emergency kits, and others are thinking of sending their children to the care of their grandparents. “I prepared a backpack with my documentation and some basic necessities, I also put a first aid kit. I put them in a place where I can easily grab them if I need to flee,” Iryna Lada, a resident of Kiev and deputy manager of a construction company, tells Efe. . The woman adds that she had her travel bag “ready since 2014”, when the war began in eastern Ukraine between the Army and pro-Russian separatists, and now she just needs to “buy some dry food to take away”. Iryna, like many Ukrainians, has been following the news about the Russian military build-up on Ukraine’s borders with increasing anxiety. This Kievite is wondering if she should leave her home if a new invasion begins. FEARS GROW As diplomatic efforts cool, fears of a new attack are growing. Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Kiev that Russia can invade Ukraine “in a very short time.” This Monday, the US embassy in Ukraine announced the beginning of the evacuations of the relatives of its diplomatic personnel. Non-essential employees may voluntarily return to the US, but will not be required to leave. The State Department explained that the measure is taken “out of an abundance of caution” due to “continued Russian efforts to destabilize the country and undermine the security of Ukrainian citizens and others” who visit or reside in Ukraine. In an attempt to calm things down, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry called the US decision “premature” and a “manifestation of excessive caution.” RESIST OR SHELTER? Yuliya Smirnova, an NGO worker and mother of two children aged 4 and 5, says she has doubts about whether she should leave Kiev. Smirnova also does not know where she could flee in the event of a large-scale armed conflict. His elderly mother and grandmother live in Kalanchak, in the southern region of Kherson, just 20 kilometers from the Crimean peninsula, annexed by the Russians since 2014. “I don’t know what to do first: evacuate my children from Kiev or help my mother and grandmother to flee? If (the Russians) attack from the north, I should first take my children to my husband’s family in western Ukraine. And then go south to pick up my relatives there,” He says. Smirnova’s concern is shared by many Ukrainians, who are now deciding what to do in the event of a possible large-scale Russian attack. And while some prepare to flee, others are determined to stay and resist. “I don’t plan to leave Kharkiv,” says Tetyana Tanchuk, a content manager from that city in eastern Ukraine, located just 40 kilometers from the Russian border. Tanchuk assures that the local population is not afraid and continues with its daily life. “There is no panic, we lead a normal life, we make plans. In fact, there was more fear in 2014 than now,” he tells Efe. The woman assures that the Ukrainian Army is much stronger now than at the beginning of the war in Donbas, “when they literally fought in slippers.” “I WILL NEVER LEAVE HOME AGAIN” Yevhen Spirin is a Ukrainian journalist who had to flee his hometown of Lugansk to Kiev in the spring of 2014, after Russian forces and local separatists took control of the city. “They knew that I supported the Maidan (revolution). Some people approached me, put me in a car, took me to the river and told me I had 24 hours to flee,” he says. Now she fears having to leave her new home in Kiev. “I’m trying to stay calm because I think it’s part of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s plan: to make Ukrainians nervous. I’m not packing my bags, I just have some cash, documents and medicine ready,” Spirin said. to Eph. FROM DOCTOR TO TERRITORIAL DEFENSE MEMBER “Medical workers will be needed in the event of a new Russian invasion of Ukraine,” says Iryna Yosypenko, a surgeon with more than 20 years of experience in a Kiev hospital. In 2014 Yosypenko volunteered as a doctor during the Maidan protests and helped treat injured protesters. Then, when the war began in Donbas, Iryna joined the National Guard of Ukraine as a doctor. Due to deteriorating health, Iryna had to leave the Army in 2018. But when Russia began to build up troops on the Ukrainian border in late 2021, she decided to join the territorial defense units to support the resistance in her city. “I started to attend some drills and I realized that I can still do a lot of things. Now I am in reserve, but if Russia attacks, I will return to the front line as a doctor,” he says. EFE ot-aj/cae/si (photo) (video)

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