Bittersweet Mother's Day in Ottawa as war rages in Ukraine

It’s Anna Fedorova’s first Mother’s Day in Canada after escaping Ukraine with her children.

“It’s the most unexpected Mother’s Day,” Fedorova said while standing in Ottawa's ByWard Market.

The 39-year-old fled Kyiv with her son and daughter, leaving behind her husband in the war-torn country. It was a difficult decision, but she says her children’s safety was the most important factor.

"I feel it’s my native country and need to be there so I had a lot of doubt, but I decided to leave Ukraine and now I’m happy to be here," said Fedorova. 

The trio is making the best of their first Mother’s Day in the nation’s capital as they embark on a new chapter.

"My children prepared breakfast for me with peanut butter and Nutella," she said. "They created a heart with Nutella, it was so cute."

The three took in a Ukraine benefit concert that’s fundraising for the war-torn country in conflict with Russia. 

Oxana Genina, who was singing in a choir with the concert, was also thinking of her loved ones, including her mom, who is still in Ukraine.

"My heart is aching mainly because it’s dangerous," she said. "We don’t know whether they will live or die."

While thousands of kilometres away, Genina still calls her mother twice a day. 

"I have the message for all the mothers in Ukraine," she said. 

"Take good care of yourselves and your children, and I hope you will survive."