'Astonishing support' - How Ukrainian refugees are living in Merseyside two years on from Russian invasion

"Every time someone asks me a question about Ukraine or shares words of support, I am immensely thankful."
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The two year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine passed recently, signifying an important milestone for the refugees who have since made Merseyside their new home. The President of the University of Liverpool Ukrainian society, Milena Beltser said: "It is hard to process it's been two years since the full-scale war started. Many of us still have nightmares about it even while living miles and miles away from home."

Milena was born and raised in Ukraine but fled to Liverpool after Russia invaded on 24 February 2022. The war is ongoing and assisting refugees is just as important now as it ever was. "The support we received from people here is astonishing," Milena said.

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Liverpool has been twinned with the Ukraine city of Odesa since 1957 and has displayed solidarity with the invaded country since the start of the war. The city also stepped in to host Eurovision on behalf of Ukraine in 2023. Liverpool's 'United By Music' slogan sent out a strong message of peace and the Song Contest was Ukraine themed and coloured.

Liverpool is also taking measures to ensure extra support is available for all those fleeing the war. "Every time someone asks me a question about Ukraine or shares words of support, I am immensely thankful," Milena says.

The University of Liverpool Ukrainian society is an important community for students struggling to feel connected to others. "Being a part of the Ukrainian society helps us reconstruct this feeling of home," explains Milena. It is one of many societies in Liverpool aiming to help Ukrainians so there is always somewhere to go. Despite a shift of focus onto more recent events, the ongoing invasion is still a prevalent issue.

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