December 4, 2023


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In Spain’s ‘Little Ukraine’, anguish over the war

Guissona (Spain) (AFP) – On the calendar in Mykola Grynkiv’s web cafe, every single day considering the fact that February 24 is ringed in black, Russia’s war halting time in this northern Spanish village exactly where a person in seven residents is Ukrainian.

Right before the invasion, locals in Guissona — which lies about 115 kilometres (70 miles) northwest of Barcelona — would come to Grynkiv’s business to go on the internet, make photocopies or a cellular phone get in touch with from 1 of the non-public booths at the back.

But since Russia invaded Ukraine, this world wide web cafe in the heart of Spain’s northeastern Catalonia area has been reworked, its floor included with bins stuffed with donations that will be despatched by truck to Poland.

Like tens of millions of other Ukrainian expats, Grynkiv’s priorities have thoroughly adjusted inside of the house of a 7 days.

“Now the small business just isn’t running any extra. I’m shedding dollars but I you should not want my state to lose” the war, says this stocky 48-yr-old, who arrived in Guissona from western Ukraine a lot more than 20 years back.

“If I drop out and my state wins, no make any difference. I’ll make up for it just one day,” he states in a scarce minute when his cellular stops ringing.

Amongst the dozen or so volunteers filling bins with medicines, clothes, blankets or women’s sanitary products and solutions is Sofia Shchetbiy.

Volunteers, many of them Ukrainian, have been working around the clock to gather humanitarian supplies for war refugees in Poland
Volunteers, several of them Ukrainian, have been performing about the clock to get humanitarian provides for war refugees in Poland Pau BARRENA AFP

Right until very last week, she was doing work as a skin doctor in Ivano-Frankivsk, a city in western Ukraine.

But when the invasion started, she remaining, heading for Guissona in which she used section of her childhood and the place her mom and dad nonetheless stay.

“My uncle told me to go to Poland simply because I did not know what to do in Ukraine, I was truly afraid,” admits the 24-yr-aged.

‘The war’s started’

Of Guissona’s 7,200 people, 1,053 are Ukrainians, who make up the second-biggest nationality team immediately after Romanians, with a lot of drawn to the space by the career alternatives made available by bonArea, a strong agri-food stuff enterprise centered there.

The development of the business, which began using on overseas labour in the 1990s, has remodeled the town, which is now dwelling to a lot more than 43 nationalities.

Lots of balconies, together with that of the town corridor, are draped with anti-war banners and posters or Ukraine’s blue-and-yellow flag in a popular clearly show of assistance, for which Natalia Tvardovska is grateful.

When the war broke out, this 40-calendar year-previous waitress, who has been in Guissona considering that 2006, claimed she failed to want the media to convey to her the Russians had invaded.

The contents of each box is clearly marked in Ukrainian while on the side is written in English 'From Catalonia'
The contents of each and every box is evidently marked in Ukrainian though on the side is published in English ‘From Catalonia’ Pau BARRENA AFP

“My aunt known as me from (the southern port metropolis of) Kherson and claimed: ‘The war’s started’,” she says, recalling the anguished early hours of February 24.

Since then, she’s hardly managed to rest, her massive eyes dark with exhaustion.

Her spouse, who experienced returned to his hometown in western Ukraine immediately after a dying in the family members, had been trapped by the unexpected outbreak of war, not able to leave with all adult males concerning 18 and 60 identified as up to fight.

“I hope all this is in excess of speedily simply because I just will not know what to assume. I never know when he’ll get back again,” she states.

Also not able to drag himself away from the information is Leonid Komirenko, who fears the Russian army could at any moment enter the southern port city of Odessa, the hometown he remaining 13 yrs in the past.

“I was definitely on edge for the initial couple of times and puzzled irrespective of whether I should really go again to assist or what to do,” admits Komirenko, 41, who operates in the community slaughterhouse.

Leonid Komirenko, who came to Guissona from Ukraine 13 years ago, is torn about whether to go back and help
Leonid Komirenko, who came to Guissona from Ukraine 13 yrs back, is torn about no matter if to go again and assist Pau BARRENA AFP

“But my wife just cried and explained to me: ‘When you die in the war, I will be remaining all alone’,” he sighs, admitting he however hasn’t really designed his mind up.

“If it receives worse for Ukraine, I’ll feel about likely again.”

12.5 tonnes of support

At the city corridor, they only know of one circumstance in which a resident has long gone again to be part of the fighting, whilst some have long gone to Poland to decide up household users.

So much, there are presently 13 refugees in Guissona and the area authorities are preparing to consider in all around 100.

“The Ukrainians have been the to start with to get there and they have truly helped us establish this town,” claims mayor Jaume Ars.

Pursuing hours of paperwork to acquire the vital permits, a lorry carrying 12.5 tonnes (27,558 lbs .) of humanitarian aid is before long completely ready to set off for Poland.

Within days, Guissona's residents managed to gather 12.5 tonnes of humanitarian aid which they packed into a Poland-bound lorry
Within just times, Guissona’s citizens managed to get 12.5 tonnes of humanitarian help which they packed into a Poland-sure lorry Pau BARRENA AFP

As the driver clambers up behind the wheel, Grynkiv and the mayor wave him goodbye.

It ought to acquire him a few days to achieve Pruszkow close to the capital Warsaw, where by various groups will distribute the items between the countless numbers of Ukrainian refugees flooding into Poland.

As he pulls off, Guissona is already active planning its future cargo.