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'We need to continue our education': refugee students in Montreal on rebuilding Ukraine


Air raid sirens echoed through the streets of Old Montreal Saturday — a chilling reminder of home for Anastasiia Soshenko, a newly arrived Ukrainian refugee.

“It’s very difficult for us, very difficult for our family,” said Soshenko, who spoke to CTV News while attending Montreal’s weekly demonstration against the war.

“My family stayed in Kharkiv, and I’m really so nervous about them.”

Kharkiv, the second-largest city in Ukraine, has suffered heavy bombardment by Russian forces. On Friday, nine civilians were killed and more than 50 injured in a neighbourhood shelling, Ukrainian officials reported.

Many of Kharkiv’s residents, including Soshenko, have fled the region. Her parents stayed behind; she says her father was injured by a bombing and is in the hospital back home.

Soshenko is among four students who landed in Montreal earlier this week after obtaining emergency travel visas to Canada. All four are continuing their studies in communications.

“We are very thankful to the University of Montreal because of this opportunity to study and be there,” said Soshenko.

Student Maryna Krennikova was overwhelmed by the welcome she received, but hopes Canada can work even more quickly to help those stuck in Ukraine.

“I’m really grateful for all the people here, for their support. However, they don’t understand the situation [because] they weren’t there,” she said, adding that there’s no time to spare when it comes to bringing more refugees in.

“We can’t wait,” she said. “Each second, it’s really important. We can’t wait for four days for an answer from the university or from an immigration officer.”

When asked about her plans, Krennikova’s answer was clear: to return home when the war is over and help rebuild Ukraine.

“We need to continue our education, to be intelligent, to have some experience — and then when we return to Ukraine, we can develop our city, our everything, our country.” Top Stories

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