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Donbas refugees find shelter on Yanukovych’s estate

Donbas refugees find shelter on Yanukovych’s estate
Photo: Hryhoriy Salay, Segodnya

The first refugees arriving in Kyiv from the eastern regions of Ukraine have been placed in the presidential residence in Mezhyhirya, reports the newspaper, May 13.

According to the newspaper, dozens of refugees from Luhansk, Donetsk, and Kramatorsk and some 20 from Crimea are being housed in the two-story building where Yanukovych’s closest servants were to live.

“We temporarily placed them in the servant house. It was built just before (Yanukovych’s) escape, so nobody has even had a chance to live there,” said Mezhyhirya manager Denys Tarakhkotelik.

According to Haide Rizayeva, a member of the coordinating council of Maidan, people have been arriving not just from Crimea but also from eastern Ukraine. Initially the refugees were to be housed in the home of the former prosecutor general Viktor Pshonka but were displaced by Maidan self-defense.

The refugees live two to a room. They have all the amenities — shower, bathroom, and even a mini-kitchen with a gas stove.  Food (breakfast and lunch) is brought in from the dining room, where volunteers and Mezhyhirya staff eat.

“It would be impossible to complain! The closets even had new linens, pillows, blankets. The apartments are similar to a 4-star hotel, and the food is to die for. Yesterday they served seafood pasta, and today potatoes with meat,” said Serhiy P., a refugee from Makiyivka, but then added tearfully “But home is still better. I still have grandparents there. I have no other family,” he said.

The young man has been in Kyiv for several weeks. He had to leave his native city because of threats, taking only essentials.

” I had to leave because I had supported Maidan. When I arrived in Kyiv, I first stayed in affordable housing, then I moved to Maidan square, and now they placed me in Mezhyhirya. When I find work I will bring my family to Kyiv because I’m afraid for them. I also have to finish my education, get a diploma. I’m studying to be a lawyer,” he said.

Serhiy Lobonovsky, a 25-year-old from Luhansk, still has an 18-year-old sister, mother, and older brother at home.

“I arrived in Kyiv several days ago because life in my city became unbearable. There’s constant shooting, they’re robbing stores, apartments,” Serhiy explained. “My older brother and mother want to go to Russia and do not support my views, so I will not be going home again. I want to find work in Kyiv and bring my sister from Luhansk. She supports me and Ukraine. In Mezhyhirya everything is certainly good, but a king’s mansion is not for me. I don’t want to depend on others.”

The volunteers also described a recent emergency placement of 48 refugees from Eastern Ukraine in a private children’s camp in the Ivankivsk district in the Kyiv Oblast. Of the refugees, 19 are children ranging in age from 2 to 14 with their mothers (the fathers have remained in Sloviansk). In addition there are 18 children from an orphanage, aged 5 to7, with their caretakers. They desperately need money, food and clothes, ” the volunteers said.


Translated by Anna Mostovych

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