'I can sleep at night': Windsor woman brings parents, grandmother to Canada from Ukraine

It's been a whirlwind few days for Petrenko family.

Anastasia Petrenko hosting her mother, father, and grandmother, who left Ukraine due to Russian invasion

Anastasia Petrenko, right, with her grandmother Ekaterina, and parents Olga and Volodymyr, who have come to stay with her in Windsor while the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues. (Michael Evans/CBC)

It's been a whirlwind few days for Petrenko family.

Windsor resident Anastasia Petrenko has brought her mother and father and her 87-year-old grandmother Ekaterina, from the Ukranian city of Kryvyi Rih to Canada to stay with her, while the Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.

"She feels like she's in a movie," Olga Petrenko told CBC News, her words translated by her daugher Anastasia. "She doesn't believe that she's already in Canada, because everything happened so fast."

WATCH | The Petrenko family reunites in Windsor, Ont.: 

Ukrainian family arrives in Windsor-Essex

6 months ago
Duration 0:45
The Petrenko family reflects on whether one day they'll be able to return to Ukraine, after the war.

Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24. Anastasia Petrenko said her parents heard explosions and saw black smoke, then moved to Ekaterina's apartment, farther away from the conflict, where they stayed for two days.

The Petrenko family left behind their beautiful home in Ukraine. (Submitted by Anastasia Petrenko)

"I insisted of them to move away completely, because more news were coming and I saw that other cities got occupied, and that I might have lost a connection with them," Anastasia said. "I just insisted for them to move while their road to the west was open."

"Russians were going and cutting off roads," she said. "It was important to be fast, to move while you can."

Olga Petrenko waits among a group of people, outside the Ukrainian Embassy in Romania. (Submitted by Anastasia Petrenko)

Anastasia said while she wishes circumstances were different, she's happy her family is in Canada now, where they'll be safe.

"I can sleep at night now," she said. "And they can, I hope."

She said, however, there are currently no financial support programs for Ukranians who come to Canada during the war. There is some support from their church, and family, but her mother and father will likely need to find work here.

"For them to start a new life, they need housing, and the government doesn't provide [housing]," she said. "They need health care, and there's no public health care for them available now."

"Maybe the government will announce something."


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?