'My wife and daughter are in safety': Dozens of Ukrainian refugees welcomed in Saskatoon

Dozens of Ukrainian refugees received a warm welcome from the Saskatoon Ukrainian community during rally at River Landing on Sunday. 

Organizers said many have left behind their husbands, fathers and sons who are fighting on the frontlines of the war in their country.

Victor Filipov was able to make it out of the country with his wife Ulia and his two-year-old daughter. 

“I feel that my wife and daughter are in safety,” Filipov said. “We’re very happy to be in Canada because we are making our new life.”

The three fled Mariupol for the nearby country of Georgia before arriving in Canada on April 28.

“When we leave Maripol, a lot of houses demolished, no school, hospitals, no energy, water, heating. All this destruction by Russian soldiers,” he said.

The Stand With Ukraine Rally drew in roughly 200 people, who showed their solidarity with the country facing Russian aggression.

One of those in attendance was Max Palichuk, who left Ukraine in 2008 but still has many family and friends back home.

“It’s pretty tough to wake up every morning and see if they’re online, if they answer your texts, whatsoever so it’s very important to me that we bring as much attention to Ukraine as possible,” he said.

The demonstration was one of many put on across the country by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

“We’re looking for the government to send heavy armaments to Ukraine and for NATO to stand up to Russia,” said Ukrainian Canadian Congress Saskatoon branch Vice President Pat Tymchatyn.

While many people at the rally have family and friends back in Ukraine, Tymchatyn sees the rally as a chance to bring people together and celebrate Ukrainian Culture.

“The more we’re together, the more we feel community support,” she said.

Several people who attended the rally wore a traditional Ukrainian shirt called a Vyshyvanka. Ukrainians will be celebrating Vyshyvanka Day on Thursday.