The war in Ukraine has entered its fifth month and there’s still no end in sight, but are people still paying attention? That’s the question some are asking in Calgary and beyond as the turmoil continues.
“I really feel like the world is sort of forgetting about what’s happening in Ukraine,” said Christine Moussienko, president of the church council with the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic Church.
“Today a shopping mall was hit with a rocket, and in Kyiv, they were shooting rockets yesterday, so we don’t know how long this is going to continue.”
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed G7 leaders virtually at their summit in Germany on Monday, asking for more aid.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke to Zelenskyy on the first day of the G7 summit to ask him what he needs from other countries. According to a tweet from Zelenskyy’s Twitter account, the two spoke about increasing defence support for Ukraine.
The Calgary branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is also looking for more support. The organization said rallies and marches are continuing to be held across the city to spotlight the atrocities of war, however, organizers have noticed a drop in numbers of Calgarians who have been coming out to support the cause.
“Our greatest concern is that we just don’t see an end in sight to this massacre of innocent people in Ukraine by Russia,” said Inna Platonova, the president of the Calgary branch of the UCC.
The Centre for Newcomers added that while Calgarians have been incredibly supportive, the situation isn’t necessarily “top of mind” anymore.
“People are busy,” said Anila Lee Yuen, the president and CEO of the centre.
“When we bring it forward to any community, when we go to any church, mosque, synagogue, temple… and we could say, ‘This is our needs,’ typically people are willing to help in any way they can.”
But Yuen said that solution isn’t sustainable over time. What the community really needs, she added, is funding from governments.
“We’ve got so many of these different organizations that have all been helping and doing the best they can to be supportive,” she said. “All these different groups that have stepped up but nobody has received any funding — federally, provincially or through the city — in terms of being able to support Ukrainian refugees.
“The biggest issue is that this community hasn’t been designated federally as refugees. They’re considered temporary residents, which means that they will be asked to leave and go back to Ukraine within one to three years. So because of that, they’re not eligible for any of the supports that refugees receive.”
Yuen said the number of Ukrainians coming to Calgary has been growing “exponentially” and there simply isn’t enough support.
“We have so many people that are arriving daily and our resources are extremely limited. We’ve received very little to no funding from any level of government to actually be able to support the Ukrainian community.”