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‘It’s horrible’: N.S. man from Ukraine and the traumatizing stories he’s being told

Click to play video: 'N.S. man with Ukraine roots helping bring family to Canada'
N.S. man with Ukraine roots helping bring family to Canada
WATCH: A Nova Scotia man originally from Ukraine has made his way back to the region to help bring family members to Canada. His niece and her two sons are now safe in Warsaw, Poland, but leaving their home country hasn't been easy. Callum Smith reports. – Apr 6, 2022

As Ukraine’s president accuses invading Russian troops of committing the worst war crimes since the Second World War, a Nova Scotian man originally from the country under siege, is in Europe trying to help relatives escape.

Vlad Snytkin left for Warsaw, Poland two weeks ago with a few extra bags, filled with humanitarian aid for refugees who have made their way to the Polish capital.

He’s been staying in a hotel where approximately 30 other refugees have sought solace. He says hearing their stories is traumatizing.

“They share stories and their hands start shaking. Just to get them back to those memories, their hands are shaking,” he told Global News in a Zoom interview from a hotel room. “Even memories give them shivers and horror, and it’s horrible, but we need to hear those stories.”

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He witnessed friends from the same village being able to reunite, but it was far from a happy reunion.

“[A man] was telling stories to one woman that her village got absolutely destroyed. And, I saw those live tears and she knew her motherland place was destroyed,” he says, “and it hurt so much.”

Thankfully, Snytkin’s 31-year-old niece and her two sons safely arrived in Warsaw several days ago after patiently waiting for his three-month old nephew to recover from pneumonia in a Ukrainian hospital.

“I feel such a relief that she is in Poland and that she is fine,” he says of his niece.

While there, Snytkin has been helping his niece and a family friend complete paperwork and visa applications to hopefully help get them to Nova Scotia.

He’s hopeful they will be soon be approved to come to Canada, but there’s been a delay with the applications. He says a document has been misplaced.

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“The Canadian embassy is working on so many Ukrainian refugees, so probably there’s one document that got lost,” he says. “But, we can wait. At least they’re safe, so we can wait.”

Snytkin says he’s helping the Canadian Ukrainian Congress organize a celebration of Ukrainian culture back in Nova Scotia on April 23 to raise money for humanitarian efforts in his homeland.

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