Ukrainians welcome Tatar refugees from Russian invasion

Volunteer Movement of Bukovyna

Volunteer Movement of Bukovyna 


Article by: Eugene Linetsky

It’s ironic, but in the Ukrainian crisis President Putin managed to accomplish something that no Ukrainian president could. For the first time in its modern history, Ukraine is united. Ukraine is united in sorrow, united in hope, and united in a struggle against its oppressive neighbor. For 23 years, Ukraine’s military was not only starved for modernization but outright neglected and systematically destroyed.  This realization only came when Russia annexed Crimea and then used terrorists and Russian regular troops to engulf Eastern Ukraine in a hybrid war. In the midst of profound economic and political turmoil in Ukraine, its citizens came to the rescue of their beloved country. Volunteer organizations sprung across Ukraine and carried the initial burden of Ukraine’s new reality. This is a small story of one out of many Ukrainian volunteer organizations.

Kateryna Ponomariova from Chernivtsi is a founder of Volunteer Movement of Bukovyna. Together with her like-minded friends she founded this volunteer organization to provide vital assistance to refugees. From the very beginning of the Ukrainian conflict many Muslim families in Crimea felt it is dangerous to stay in their historical homeland under the new Russian rule. Raids on Crimean Tatar schools and places of worship forced many to evacuate.

The Volunteer Movement of Bukovyna and entire Chernivtsi community welcomed refugees with open arms. Homes which were ready to take incoming families were found. Food, clothing, transportation, and other necessary items were provided. Volunteers assisted newly arrived refugees in filing for social benefits, and in finding new employment. The purpose was not only to save people from Russian oppression in Crimea, but to assist them in assimilating in the region. With heartfelt warmth, kindness, and care provided by volunteers the success stories emerged. The family of Crimean Tatar Anver Kadyrov opened a new restaurant, and gave the citizens of Chernivtsi a taste of Crimean cuisine.

Anver Kadyor at the doorsteps of his restaurant

Anver Kadyrov at the doorsteps of his restaurant

This was a way for Anver to give something back to the community that welcomed his family. Completely on the opposite of what Russian propaganda claims, it does not matter what language you speak or what God you worship; here everyone is Ukrainian.

After Russian expansion of the conflict to Eastern Ukraine many refugees from the war-torn regions looked for escape to Chernivtsi. The scope of the volunteer’s involvement increased tenfold.  The generous people of Chernivtsi poured into Volunteer Movement of Bukovyna office and donated various items ranging from food, clothing and money. Additionally, volunteers organized a variety of fundraising and charity events selling hand-made items.

Volunteer fundraising, selling homemade items

Volunteer fundraising, selling homemade items

Collected proceeds were used to provide vital assistance to refugees. Right now, over three hundred children and their families found new home in Chernivtsi and three new Ukrainians were born. The volunteers are helping new mothers and providing diapers, baby clothing, bathtubs and other much needed necessities.

Expecting mother receives much needed items

Expecting mother receives much needed items

Currently, the mission of Volunteer Movement of Bukovyna is divided between helping refugees and providing supplies and equipment to Ukrainian Armed Forces. Volunteers made numerous trips to hot zones: delivering food, water, military equipment and children’s drawings from home. Soldiers consider these drawings as good luck omens and always happy to receive them.

Volunteer Movement of Bukovyna and the entire Chernivtsi community symbolizes the Ukrainian unbreakable spirit and limitless kindness!




Return home alive

Children’s artwork delivered to soldiers: “Return Alive”

Edited by: Alya Shandra

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  1. Avatar Brent says:

    Another stark difference between “Ukrainians” and “Russians”. The Russians persecute minorities and drive them out. The Ukrainians welcome them and accept them as new family members of their community.

    I wonder if Dugin and Putin will ever understand the difference?

    1. Avatar Luc D. says:

      Forgotten how many Polish the Ukranians have killed? Never heard about the Volhynia massacres in 1943? They”ll never forgive and forget this. That’s the reason why they don’t give you arms to fight the rebels in Donbass. But you are lucky, they hate the Russians as much as they hate Ukrainians. 🙂
      And don’t forget that in Europe Ukraine is also famous for its racism. Before and during Euro 2012 Western newspapers emphasized the racist attitude of Ukraine supporters towards black soccer players. Also forgotten? Short memory I believe…

      1. Avatar Milan Schulz says:

        You are wrong Luc D. Whilst you wallow in the past just the same as Mr Putin, Ukrainians look to the future. If you want to follow this rout then go back another hundred and fifty years and have a look at how many Poles killed how many Ukrainians. Your point is mute.

        You are wrong again about Europe, as someone who spent their childhood in Europe, I have lived the rest of my life in Australia and I can personally tell you that ALLLLLL of Europeans are the most racist in the world, especially compared to the rest of the world. Doesn’t matter whether its Ukrainians, Serbs, Slovaks, Russians or Germans. They are all the same!

        1. Avatar Luc D. says:

          That’s not the discussion Milan. I wanted to state that one cannot see things black/white as seeing Russians as evil and Ukranians as angels. The truth is never black or white but muddy grey… 🙁
          And about racism; Australia hasn’t a very good reputation either, the way it treats boat refugees, no?

          1. Avatar Milan Schulz says:

            It is the discussion. Ukrainians arn’t perfect but it is not their fault that Russia refuses to let them go. Spheres of influence are very last century mate. The thing with Russia’s war on Ukraine is; it is black and white! It is Russia’s personal agenda to make the world think that things are complicated. They really arn’t.

            Please stop me before I laugh. I have the same arguments about boat people in Australia with countless do-gooders here so I really am sick of it but here we go. These ‘refugees’ are actually economic refugees. They pay tens of thousands of dollars to illegally enter Australia. Our government has stopped the boats to stop people drowning at sea. The people that do get here throw away all identifying documents so we have no idea who they are, where they have come from or whether they are genuine refugees or not. Socialists such as your self would argue that this is inhumane but honestly, I don’t care. Genuine refugees go through a process to get here as refugees and they are held up because these people cannot wait their turn. Absolutely no sympathy here. Oh and WTF does this situation have anything to do with racism? You must be a liberal socialist and quote possibly an environmental activist, good luck with your opinions Luc

        2. Avatar Brent says:

          Ask him about how his fellow Belgians and their acts committed against the people of the Congo. And he’s a “professor of history”?!?!?

      2. Avatar Brent says:

        Yes, I have heard about the Vohlynia and Eastern Galicia massacres. But wouldn’t a PhD in History also be aware of Poland’s retribution named “Operation Vistula”?

        Here’s the thing I find most interesting. Ukraine and Poland get along fine now. They’ve both committed actions against each other in the past but they’ve learned to forgive each other. It makes me really curious that you, A Belgian professor of history, and many Kremlin stooges want to come to Poland’s cause now, over 60 years later?

        What is more troubling now is even though you have several times posted that “Germans today should not be held accountable for Nazi crimes”, and that “Russians today should not be held accountable for Soviet crimes”,you seem deadest against allowing the same forgiveness to Ukraine, even though Poland already has?

        Since you seem hell bent on demonizing Ukrainians for past atrocities, should we all blame you and your fellow Belgians for what King Leopold did in Congo “Mr. PhD of History”? That’s a pretty big ‘glass house’ you are living in….I’ve also asked you several time about the racist comments you’ve made against Ukrainians, but you seem to be very silent about those.

        1. Avatar Milan Schulz says:

          Spot on Brent, a typical university lifer,an ‘intellectual’ in Australia we call them parrots

    2. Avatar Jens A says:

      Nice to see the number of likes you get in contrast to the number of likes to Luc D. Just maybe Ukraine and Poland have learned something like Germany and Poland have learned a lot!

    3. Avatar Jens A says:

      Nice to see the number of likes you get in contrast to the number of likes to Luc D. Just maybe Ukraine and Poland have learned something like Germany and Poland have learned a lot!