- ‘What can I say? I am very thankful that you are receiving us.’
- Valentina Gogvozd and her boys were on board a plane of Ukrainian citizens that came to Edmonton Monday evening.
Valentina Gogvozd stepped into the arrivals entrance at the Edmonton International Airport, carrying a small bouquet of golden sunflowers, her two young sons at her flank.
Gogvozd and her kids, and nearly 60 other Ukrainian citizens, were on a flight that came to Edmonton Monday night — refugees escaping battle as Russia’s attack on Ukraine heads into its fifth week.
While exact numbers are complex to collect from an active war zone, the war has destroyed almost 1,000 civilians and wounded another 1,800, according to the United Nations this week.
Almost 10 million Ukrainians — one-quarter of the nation’s population — have been driven from their houses, including nearly four million who have escaped the country.
Gogvozd and her children Bogdan, 9, and Artem, 6, will be staying with her brother-in-law, Andrii Nabutovskyi, in Red Deer, Alta.
Talking in Ukrainian, Gogvozd said she felt thanks and relief as she stepped off the aircraft following a harrowing trip from Ukraine.
“First impressions are that you are receiving us so graciously. We are here for the very first time,” she said.
“What can I say? I am very thankful that you are receiving us. [As] Ukrainians, we thank you sincerely.”
Not long back, Gogvozd’s life in the central Ukrainian city of Cherkasy was quiet. She worked as an accountant. Her kids went to school.
Then the Russian military raided Ukraine on Feb. 24.
“They were just normal children going to school every day like every normal Ukrainian home,” Nabutovskyi said of Gogvozd’s sons.
“And on that terrible day, the war began, and they spent a lot of time in the basement because you never know when an artillery charge will arrive and might end your life right there.
Source – cbc.ca