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Ukrainian woman living in Peterhead says ‘family did not know if they would die in their sleep’

Liubov Goloveshko who is a Ukranian living in Peterhead. Picture by Kenny Elrick.
Liubov Goloveshko who is a Ukranian living in Peterhead. Picture by Kenny Elrick.

Liubov Goloveshko found out war had started in her homeland with an early morning phone call from her mum.

It was a war that she knew was coming, but the 39-year-old – who now lives in Peterhead – had hoped she and her family would not have to live through it.

She said: “You can not imagine it. Here I am in Scotland, I am safe. I think I am coping and then I remember my mum is in a place where there are bombs.

“It is the horror of it all.

“We do not know what is going to happen.

“There is no hate about the Russians, too many of them are our brothers. People are asking ‘what have you done my brother?’.

“People do not want this. People want peace. Our countries are so closely linked. It is like Scotland being an independent country and England invading us.

“One of my mum’s neighbours has one son in the Russian Army and one in the Ukrainian Army. It is a tragedy that one brother will have to fight against another.”

Covid adding to the distress

Mrs Goloveshko, who works for charity Stella’s Voice, said her mum – who could hear bombing from her home – immediately bought food.

“It was what her grandmother had taught her to do in the Second World War,” she said.

People look at the damage following a rocket attack the city of Kyiv, Ukraine. AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti

“Of all the things to do, she is drying bread. The way she was taught by her grandmother.”

She said: “My mother, Olena, is safe. She lives in the small village of Rykytne on the Russian border. She has heard bombing but we think it was the Ukrainian army.

“But that does not make it any less frightening for her. My aunt and my cousin have gone to my mum’s house to stay.

“They don’t want to go to the shelter as they do not want to catch Covid. There is still a coronavirus problem in the Ukraine.

“So they are together in my mum’s house.  Last night they were frightened to go to bed in case the war will come to their house.

“They did not know if they would die in their sleep.”

Ukrainian soldiers in the eastern Ukraine’s Donbas frontline battling Russian-backed rebels.

“They are still worried. They like so many people can not believe this. Nobody believed Russia would come and invade.

“We are so closely connected to Russia, they are our next door neighbours. We have Russian blood.”

‘My brother says there is a lot of shooting’

But in the city of Kharkiv, where Mrs Goloveshko’s brother Vologymyr lives, it is a different story. He has seen tanks, and is constantly hearing shooting.

The people of the city have been told not to share videos or photos for fear that it will help the Russians.

The mum-of-one, who has lived in the north-east for nine years, added: “My brother says there is a lot of shooting.

“There is not enough food, or enough bread. And he is not sending me anything at all by text because he thinks it will make me scared for him.

“He works in security. He has been told to go to the army office. But people in the cities can not go out. There are tanks on the streets.

“The Russians are saying they will not touch civilians. But people can be killed by mistake.”

Food running out

Mrs Goloveshko’s 82-year-old grandmother hoped she would never to see war again, having lived through the Second World War as a child.

But for her grandmother, the fact the war is from Russia, is the worst thing.  It feels the war is coming from someone she trusted.

“One of my mum’s neighbour’s daughters works in a shop like Aldi and she called her mum to come quickly as there was not enough food left. And nothing is coming.

“So, people are not just suffering from bombs, there is no food – and they are scared.”

She continued: “We need to tell the stories of ordinary people. Of people who trusted the Russians. People just feel sorrow.”

Yesterday we told the story of Steve Tuzylak who feared for his fellow countryfolk.



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