Ukrainian Canadians offer support as conflict escalates overseas

Citizens and churches are stepping up to help Ukrainians now seized in the midst of war. They are trying to find ways to help, in anyway they can, family and friends in their homeland.

From money to medical supplies, donations are now flowing to Ukraine

Ukrainian Canadians offer support as Russian invasion escalates

1 year ago
Duration 2:07
Canada is home to one of the largest Ukrainian diasporas in the world and many are finding ways to help through financial support and donations as Russian troops move into Ukraine.

Canada is home to one of the largest Ukrainian diasporas in the world — and many are finding ways to help as Russian troops move into the country.

Through financial support and donations, Ukrainian Canadians are coming together to provide assistance from afar.

Originally from Lviv, Ukraine, Bohdan Pivovarchuk has lived in Mundare, Alta., for 32 years. 

The 72-year-old man said he has been watching the events in Ukraine, about 8,000 kilometres away, with disbelief.

  • What questions do you have about Russia's invasion of Ukraine? Send an email to ask@cbc.ca

Pivovarchuk has been organizing donations for troops on the front-lines in Ukraine since 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea. 

When the invasion of Ukraine started earlier this week, Pivovarchuk jumped into action.

Some of the medical supplies Pivovarchuk is sending to Ukraine include bandages and chest seals, which can help treat chest wounds. (Julia Wong/CBC)

Using donations from the community and connections from years of sending supplies to Ukraine, Pivovarchuk has collected boxes of medical supplies, such as bandages, dressings and needles to ship overseas.

He is also sending supplies, such as thermoses and sweaters, along with food, like peanut butter and canned ham.

"I like to help my people," Pivovarchuk said Friday.

"When I lived before in Ukraine, I lived in a Communist system. I don't have nothing. We lived together in one house— three families in an apartment. Now we have everything, [like a] house, [my] daughter says Canada helped me, so now I have to help for somebody."

Church community

Ukrainian Catholic churches in Alberta have  launched a humanitarian emergency aid campaign.

Approximately $300,000 has been raised so far, including a $250,000 donation from one family alone, according to Bishop David Motiuk, the bishop of the Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Edmonton.

The money will be used to help provide food, medicine and shelter for Ukranians as many move across borders to neighbouring countries.

"We're in crisis," Motiuk said.

"You can well imagine if you had to leave your house and you don't have anything but maybe the clothes on your back and maybe just an overnight bag. So there's a great need."

Motiuk said there are many in the church community with grandparents, aunts and uncles in Ukraine.

"We want to stand with Ukraine, the international community and to respond to the humanitarian need as it increases," he said.