Ukrainian woman in Poland says many refugees ‘feel guilty in safety’

Nearly two million Ukrainian refugees have arrived in Poland since the Russian invasion began, and Marta Reznichenko says although she is grateful, she and many others feel guilty being away from Ukraine.

“We’re really lucky, and now we are feeling so bad and so guilty for being here in safety, this is a new symptom for Ukrainians who are now in safety. I feel bad for being here and for not helping people in Ukraine, ” Reznichenko told CityNews.

The 20-year-old says she is extremely grateful to be in Rzeszow, Poland, as many people unfortunately could not nor cannot make it to safety.

“People in Poland are so friendly and we’re honestly so impressed by their kindness. They’re literally the best friends for Ukraine right now. We are living with a Polish family, they provided us with accommodation, food, they even wanted to give us money. They bought everything we needed just for us to be here in comfort and in safety.”

Reznichenko, graduated from the British Columbia Institute of Technology in 2020, and although she has a Canadian work visa, she says she moved back home to help “strengthen the country.” Like many Ukrainians, Reznichenko has immense pride for her nation.

“I realize that I can go anywhere, I can stay here in Poland or I can go to Canada or to the US, I have a visa already. But honestly, I can’t even think of it. I still want to go back home and help people there. Ukrainians are united as never before. We are ready to work for free, we are ready to skip vacations, skip holidays for a long period of time to rebuild our country and to stay and live safely.”

Since President Zelenskyy declared martial law, Reznichenko’s father and boyfriend have stayed in Ukraine, and she says being away from them has made her feel more anxious than staying in the warzone.

“I was crying, I was begging [my father] not to force me to leave my country because I didn’t want to leave him, my grandmother, my grandfather, or my cat. But he feels better when [my sister, my mom, and I] are here. I call him every 10 minutes.”

Over the course of the invasion, social media has been flooded with clips of Ukrainian people standing up to Russian troops, choosing to stay and fight, and people putting their lives on the line to defend their country.

In 2014, the Maidan protests, with the goal to impeach then-president Viktor Yanukovych, instilled a strong sense of unity amongst Ukrainian people. When protests proved successful with Yanukovych fleeing and subsequently taking refuge in Russia, the morale of Ukrainian people became impressively strong.

“We have been successful, and we will be again. I am hopeful,” she says.

Reznichenko adds, the same sense of strength and unity is holding true this time around, adding many people are refusing to flee as they feel they have nothing left to lose.

“We honestly do not care about the economic and political situation because when the war ends the next 10 years will be difficult, the country is ruined. So, this is the only way. We, Ukrainian people need to gather all together and we need to do everything possible to rebuild our country and start the new history.”

Originally from Ternopil, Reznichenko says seeing the destruction of her country is devastating but, the conflict has been reaching a boiling point for years, and hopes Ukrainians will use the war to ward off Russia for good.

“Russia always wanted to invade Ukraine, for years they have been trying regularly to to grab our territories. But now we have this strength, we have support from all over the world that we need to end this war and to use these stories to start a new chapter of our country.”

Although Reznichenko’s father disagrees, the young woman plans to go back to Ukraine, saying she does not plan to fight but to volunteer and help people who are in the battle. From Poland, Reznichenko is using her international contacts to get supplies and resources for people on the front lines, but she believes being in Ukraine will prove her efforts even more successful.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today