Ukrainian tells of terrifying experiences

Shetland has continued to show its solidarity with Ukraine.

Wool brokers Jamieson and Smith has made a donation to the UNICEF emergency appeal for Ukraine of over £6,000.

And Shetland Solidarity with Refugees is planning to run a fund-raising pop-up shop in the Toll Clock Shopping centre for two weeks from Monday.

Last weekend, a large crowd gathered at the Market Cross to show their support.

It comes as a young Ukrainian has shared her terrifying experiences of surviving in a war-zone.

Olha Oltarzhevska has described the “merciless bombing” of Kyiv over the last two weeks.

The 22 year-old told The Shetland Times she had enjoyed a “happy life” before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

But now she has been confined to her basement for over a week. Ukrainian officials have insisted they are ready to fight as Russian forces have closed in on the city.

Olha, who has worked in public relations for four years, is used to dealing with her local media.

Now, with the situation in her own country fast changing, she has turned to outlets outside of Ukraine to press home the message of what is happening there.

“As you know, our country is now at war,” she said.

“Before the war started, I lived without knowing grief, studied at the best university in the country – Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv – played musical instruments, started taking Spanish courses and lived a happy life.

“My family and I have been living in the basement for more than a week now.

“Explosions are heard every day.”

Terrified Olha is fearful of the consequences of Putin’s Ukraine offensive, which has already resulted in a mass exodus of refugees.

Olha did have plans to visit Norway, but was unable to leave. She talks of longing to see the Northern Lights.

But she insists she will not, now, flee from Ukraine – both for her own safety, and the obligation she feels towards neighbours.

“For the time being, we are not going to run anywhere from the city or from the country,” she said.

“Firstly, it is very risky, and secondly, our neighbours brought their children and a large number of pets to us. Therefore, we must take care of them. We are the only ones who have a basement in the house.”

A friend, she said, had spoken of the destruction of all “green corridors” in Mariupol “by the occupiers”.

She said people were being left there with no food or water, and spoke of humanitarian convoys being shelled.


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