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

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian family in Nova Scotia hopeful for future on one-year anniversary of invasion'
Ukrainian family in Nova Scotia hopeful for future on one-year anniversary of invasion
WATCH: A Ukrainian family who now calls Nova Scotia home is looking to the future as the country marks one year at war. They say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine abruptly changed their lives but they're grateful for the peace they've found in Canada. Skye Bryden-Blom reports. – Feb 24, 2023

A Ukrainian family who now calls Nova Scotia home is looking to the future as the country marks one year at war.

They say Russia’s invasion of Ukraine abruptly changed their lives but they’re grateful for the peace they’ve found in Canada.

“Every day I wake up and see the news — bombs, firefights,” Anastasiia Kashura says. “When will it stop? And nobody knows the answer.”

For her family, Russia’s full-scale invasion on Feb. 24, 2022 marked the second time they were forced to start over. The couple left their first home of Luhansk, Ukraine behind in 2014, when Russia first invaded Crimea. Anastasiia was nine months pregnant with their first son, Sviatoslav.

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“I think it’s just hard work. That’s all. And everything will be okay.” That’s how her husband Mike Kashura says you start over.

The family landed in Halifax nearly a year ago, joining the millions who have fled the war-torn country. They’ve been working two jobs seven days a week to help make ends meet.

Mike even attends his second job when he takes a vacation from his first.

The Kashura family. Skye Bryden-Blom / Global News

“For people from Ukraine, life in Canada is a little bit expensive,” Mike explains. “You need much more money.”

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His wife says there were challenges they faced starting from zero.

“We started a new life with new people, with a new language, everything was new,” Anastasiia says.

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“For me, it was hard.”

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

“They have to start a new life without any previous history,” says vice-president Bohdan Luhovyy. “Many didn’t know the language, many didn’t have any family here.”

Click to play video: 'Ukrainian family transitions to new life in N.S.'
Ukrainian family transitions to new life in N.S.

Anastasiia’s mom and her husband’s parents are now living in Nova Scotia – but her sister remains in occupied Mariupol.

“She’s afraid and she can’t move because the city is occupied,” says Anastasiia.

The province estimates 2,500 Ukrainian nationals have arrived in Nova Scotia since the war began.

Ukrainian-Nova Scotian lawyer Igor Yuschenko says his law firm has helped many come here through an expedited program and pro-bono services.

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

“When you lost everything,” he says. “And there are some families who literally lost everything. They don’t know what Canada is. They know that Canada exists.”

The Kashura family say they’re looking forward to the day the war ends so they can visit their loved ones, but they’re content calling Nova Scotia home.

“I want to save for the future of my children,” Anastasiia says. “It’s the most important thing for me to save for the future of my children and here in Canada I think they will be safe.”

Her son agrees.

“I thank you all Canadians who are helping Ukrainians,” Sviatoslav says.

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