‘It’s not my home… but I’m making a new life here’: a year on from Putin’s invasion, how Ukrainians living in the UK are adjusting to Britain, knowing their country ‘will never return be yourself’
- Ukrainian refugees have spoken about life in the UK, but miss home
- “Home as I remember it no longer exists,” said Yuliia Kuznetsova.
Ukrainians living in the UK have shared their feelings about life in Britain a year after Putin’s invasion, saying their home country will “never be the same again”.
The world paid tribute to fallen heroes on Friday as the Ukrainians vowed to fight to victory, while Russia said its forces were making battlefield gains in the east as their invasion entered a second year without an end to the view.
Twelve months later, many of those who fled Ukraine still do not know when they will return and what ‘home’ will be like if they do.
Yulia Kuznetsova told the BBC ‘It’s like there’s a before and after life, there’s nothing in between, and life as we knew it ended on the 24th.
“It’s never going to be the same, it’s never going to be even close to what it was before, I miss home, but at the same time I realized that home as I remember it no longer exists.”
Talking about his experience of moving to Britain, 23-year-old Nikita Vikhorev added: “It’s not my home, it’s not my country, but I’m making a new life here.”
Violinist Nikita avoided being drafted into the army when the London Performing Academy of Music brought Ukrainian music students to the UK.
Nikita says her mission is to use her music to help people care about Ukraine.
Violinist Nikita avoided being drafted into the army as the London Performing Academy of Music (LPMAM) brought Ukrainian music students to the UK, offering them scholarships and militarily exempting them.
But the 21-year-old’s father is a soldier fighting in Ukraine, and his mother and sister also remain in Kharkiv.
He described his violin as his ‘weapon’ and said his mission is to use music to help people care about their home country.
Julia Sviatenko, 40, fled her hometown Kiev with her 16-year-old son Arseniy, and after a three-day journey they arrived in Ayr, Scotland last April and have been living with sponsors.
Back home, she worked as a psychologist and taught at the Dragomanov National Pedagogical University, and now works for Barnardo’s charity.
she told the Daily entry she has found a ‘wonderful’ country in the UK where she has been greeted by amazing and friendly people who have offered her support.
But despite this, he will always miss his life at home.
“As soon as it is safe, we want to return to Ukraine,” he said.
‘Home as I remember it no longer exists,’ said Yuliia Kuznetsova
Julia Sviatenko, 40, praised the support she has received in Scotland but still wants to return to Ukraine when she can.
“Scotland will always be our second home, but we miss our old lives.”
Anna Matiunina, from Ukraine, and her husband James Gibson, who lived and grew up in Kilmarnock, Scotland, before moving to Ukraine, were also forced to flee.
They left the Ukraine on the second day of the war, packing their lives in 10 minutes in time to travel with friends.
Anna, 37, managed to get a job teaching jazz dance to children, but says there are many things in her new life that she still has to adjust to.
However, Anna says that the most important thing she wants is peace for Ukraine and for separated families to be reunited.
Anna and her husband James – she says they are happy because at least they are together
Young refugees spoke about fleeing their homes and coming to Britain
Nikita Vikhorev, Yuliia Kuznetsova, Arina Koroletska, Oleksandra Shuliatieva and Andrii Barannik (from left to right) fled to Ukraine.