Ukrainians calling for more support in Canada and overseas

As Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine nears two years, there are calls for greater support for Ukrainians. Edward Djan has more.

As Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine nears two years, Ukrainians are calling for greater support both for Ukrainians in Ukraine, but also for newcomers coming to Canada.

Markian Duplak left for Ukraine in October where he volunteered with Ukrainian Patriot, an organization that provides humanitarian aid, medical supplies, and mental health support for Ukrainian soldiers and civilians caught in the middle of the war.

“There’s the Ukraine I remember and then there’s the Ukraine that I just saw. It’s two different Ukraine’s,” said Duplak.

Duplak’s latest trip to Ukraine was his first time back since 2019, a country he used to live in.

“It’s something I wanted to do ever since the war started to go volunteer in the way that I could provide my aid to that country to those people,” said Duplak.

Markian working with displaced children. (Photo Courtsey Markian Duplak.)

Duplak returned from Ukraine to Winnipeg at the beginning of December but says he plans on going back. Despite it being nearly 22 months since Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Duplak says the need is still great in the country.

“We haven’t done enough, and this is a common conversation that we have had with volunteers,” he explained.

“It’s very important right now that people realize that the assistance and the aid is going to be continued to be needed in the long-term.”

Joanne Lewandosky from the Ukrainian Canadian Congress in Manitoba says Ukrainian newcomers arriving in Canada face a high cost of living, fewer job opportunities for non-English speakers, limited housing, and a lack of daycare spots.

Markian in UP warehouse. (Photo Courtsey Markian Duplak.)

“Understand that they are running from a war,” said Lewandosky. “You are here by yourself, it’s not easy. There is light at the end of the tunnel, but right now it’s pretty dim.”

It’s why both Lewandosky and Duplak are hoping that as the war wages on, Canadians don’t ease up on their support for Ukrainians back in the country or for newcomers coming into Canada.

“They know that they could make it here, but there are bumps in the road and we have to try to smoothen those bumps out,” said Lewandosky.

Duplak added, “Those people are unshakable. Their strength is completely unwavering. I haven’t seen anything like it.”

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