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Lethbridge Ukrainians reflect on 2-year anniversary of Russian invasion

It was a sombre event — a flag raised for Ukrainians who have lost their lives during the conflict with Russia.

“It was such a sadness and such a terrible situation,” says Mila Wagner, president of the Lethbridge branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress (UCC).

Wagner knows first-hand of the impacts of war.

Her parents still live in Ukraine in the Kremenchuk region which was the spot of a deadly Russian missile attack on a shopping mall last June.

Wagner is optimistic that the Lethbridge branch of the UCC will be able to advocate for Ukrainians on a federal level.

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“We are hoping that the Canadian government will hear us and will help us in the future to get settled here in Canada and also with the support of the Ukrainian culture so that we would be able to keep our identity,” added Wagner.

According to the Alberta government the province has welcomed more than 51,000 Ukrainian evacuees into 206 communities since the invasion began.

Staff with the Project Sunflower Aid Society say a few months after the fighting broke out, they helped Ukrainian families find housing, jobs and even provided a helpful voice for advice.

“If you count any small single help, we probably provided thousands of people, even people we never met,” says Mykhailo Pereverza, chair of the society.

For now, the anniversary serves as a reminder for all those who have died in the war.

“That’s why I think it’s very important for all people who are here now and for people who weren’t able to come here today, it’s a very important date and I don’t think we will ever forget it,” added Pereverza.

Staff with the Government of Canada say since March of 2022, more than 220,000 Ukrainians have been given temporary help.

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