A Sheffield Ukrainian student has feels “broken” knowing her parents are hiding in bunkers on the outskirts of Kyiv as they help fight the war.
Mariia, 23, who is studying at the University of Sheffield has lived in the city for the past four years but her family have remained in the war torn city.
Her parents Tetiana, 45 and Denies, 49, are unable to leave Ukraine after it was ordered men between 18-70 aren’t permitted to leave the country. Mariia’s mum has vowed to stay by her husband’s side.
Mariia said: “It’s not a secret that Russians have been ordered to kill civilians from day one. My parents can even identify different military weapons by the sound of them now.”
Kyiv has been a battleground of fighting and bombing since the start of the Russian invasion on 24 February.
On the first day of the invasion, Mariia’s mum texted her saying: “Russians attacked. They are bombing us. I love you.”
When the bombing started her parents grabbed some clothes, food and their seven-year-old cat Alice and fled their family home, to take shelter in a bunker.
Mariia explained her life has not been the same since, and was forced to cancel a trip home at Easter for a family holiday.
She said: “When something like this happens, what you struggle to find is purpose because there’s an atmosphere of helplessness. You hear that people you know are dead or suffering, it makes you feel helpless and creates an inability to live and carry on.”
The student, who is studying a STEM subject has asked for details that may lead to her identification to be left out to protect her safety after receiving threats online
Mariia has praised Sheffield City Council for doing an ‘incredible job’, after they allowed the Ukrainian community to be included in council meetings and help support the refugees.
She said: “The council was also one of the few that pushed for a Ukrainian housing scheme in the UK, which was resisted by most of government, but Sheffield was really pushing.”
Mariia’s has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to finish her PhD Check it out here.