A year after Russia stepped up its invasion of their home country, 11,000-plus Ukrainians have settled in B.C.
Anna Klochko and Sandra Biriukova have never met, but both their lives were abruptly upended a year ago by Russia’s extended invasion into their Ukrainian homeland, with both eventually ending up in the Vancouver area.
As Ukrainians and their supporters prepare to commemorate the expansion of Russia’s attack on the country on Feb. 24, 2022, with candlelight vigils and antiwar rallies this weekend, the two women are among the estimated 11,000 Ukrainians who settled in B.C. and who are reflecting on how their lives have changed in the past 365 days.
Klochko, a photojournalist who lived in a basement suite in Kitsilano while paying the bills serving banquets at a luxury downtown hotel, recently returned to Kyiv after eight months because her “heart and soul” was in Ukraine and because of the expense of living in Vancouver.
But Biriukova, who works in IT for an upscale bathroom fittings retailer and rents an apartment in Burnaby with her Kurdish husband who has taken work as a barber, will be staying for now.
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