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  • Trevor Greenway

Ukrainian refugee helping immigrants find footing

Sofiia Postolatii is learning just how different Canadian problems are from the issues Ukrainians face.

The Ukrainian refugee, who made a harrowing escape from war-torn Sumi to Ottawa in the spring, says that, while her parents are struggling to stay alive in their home country, Canadians are getting worked up about things they really shouldn’t worry so much about.

“Canadians have different problems,” says Postolatii. “For my parents, they are trying to stay warm and to stay alive, and for [Canadians,] maybe it’s someone didn’t buy the bag they wanted and they get upset.”

Russian missiles destroyed part of her hometown in north-eastern Ukraine, where 22 of her neighbours were killed in a March 7 airstrike. The blast left crater-sized holes on front lawns and destroyed several nearby homes. Soon after the attack, Postolatii escaped with the help of Edelweiss resident and former Canadian Forces infantry captain Kynan Walper. Walper has been running evacuations out of Ukraine since the beginning of the war.

Postolatii’s mother and father are still in Sumi, and although the town is no longer under Russian occupation, the region is fraught with power grid problems and heat and connectivity issues.

“The main problem right now is not the war; it’s mostly staying warm, keeping their hou