The Ukrainian refugees returning to war-torn homeland
Refugee Kseniia describes her experience of returning to Ukraine: “You cannot imagine what it is like until it actually happens.”.
Some Ukrainian refugees are returning home for the first time since fleeing the country this summer.
As a result, many people are feeling helpless and homesick, and are now spending short amounts of time at home, despite the risks.
A number of Berkshire-based citizens are visiting their homeland, including Nataly, Kseniia, and Oksana.
The moment you see your family, you start crying, says Kseniia, who went to Lviv in June.
The only 40-mile distance from the frontline separates her hometown of Slavyansk from the city where she describes feeling “like a guest.”
Kseniia says that there are restaurants and shops open in Ukraine, and people are going on holiday, but at any moment the shelling could begin.
It’s like leaving an abusive relationship. …you remain stronger, but at the same time, you could happily live without it.”
In the future, she hopes people will visit her country not because of the conflict, but because it is “really beautiful” and “has a lot to offer”.
The first time Nataly has been in Lviv since she fled to England is now in Newbury, Berkshire.
Even though going home was “a difficult decision” due to safety reasons, she is “just happy to be at home” with her son and brother.
Regardless of where we are, we’re following the news.
When you think about how many people have been killed and what is happening, you don’t feel balanced; you feel either really happy or really sad.
Despite the good weather back in Ukraine, Nataly says spirits are low.
In spite of the large number of people around, she says, “people’s eyes show sadness and anxiety.”
Oksana and her children returned to Ukraine in July from Sandhurst, Berkshire.
While taking a long train journey through Poland and crossing the border, they were thrilled to be reunited with their husbands and fathers.