Ukrainian family living in Nova Scotia reflects on one year of war – Halifax

The Ukrainian family that now calls Nova Scotia home is looking to the future as the country marks a year out of war.

They say the Russian invasion of Ukraine changed their lives abruptly, but they are grateful for the peace they found in Canada.

“Every day I wake up to news of bombs and gunfights,” says Anastasia Kashra. “When will it stop? And no one knows the answer.”

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For her family, the all-out Russian invasion of February 24, 2022 was the second time they were forced to start over. The couple left their original hometown of Luhansk, Ukraine, in 2014 when Russia first invaded Crimea. Anastasia was nine months pregnant with her eldest son Svyatoslav.

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“I think it’s a lot of work. That’s all there is to it. And everything will be fine.” That’s how her husband Mike Kashura said you should start over.

The family landed in Halifax almost a year ago, joining millions of others fleeing the war-torn country. They work two jobs seven days a week to make ends meet.

Mike takes time off from his first job to join his second job.

Kashura family.

Skye Bryden-Blom / Global News

“For someone from Ukraine, living in Canada is a bit expensive,” explains Mike. “You need more money.”

His wife says there were challenges faced starting from scratch.

“We started a new life with new people and a new language. Everything was new,” says Anastasia.

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“For me, it was hard.”

The Ukrainian-Canadian Parliament – Nova Scotia Branch says the transition period is an experience many refugees face.

“They have to start a new life with no prior record,” says Vice President Bodan Lehoby. “Many didn’t know the language and many didn’t have families here.”

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian family moving to new life in NS'

Ukrainian family moving to new life in NS

Anastasia’s mother and husband’s parents now live in Nova Scotia, while her older sister remains in occupied Mariupol.

“She can’t move because she’s scared, because the city is occupied,” says Anastasia.

The state estimates that 2,500 Ukrainian citizens have arrived in Nova Scotia since the civil war began.

Ukrainian Nova Scotian lawyer Igor Yushchenko says his law firm has helped many people come here through its fast programs and free services.

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He says support can make a big difference in someone’s life.

“When you lose everything,” he says. “Some families have literally lost everything. They don’t know what Canada is. They know Canada exists.”

The Kashura family says they look forward to the day the war ends so they can visit their loved ones, but are happy to call Nova Scotia home.

“I want to save for my children’s future,” says Anastasia. “Saving for my children’s future is the most important thing to me and I feel safe here in Canada.”

her son agrees.

“Thank you to all Canadians helping Ukrainians,” says Sviatoslav.

© 2023 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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