Olena Kolodiazhna

0

“I am very sorry. I am very nervous and stressed out, but I want to thank all of the people of Mallorca, Spain, Poland, Germany, the whole of the European Union for all of your help.

“None of us expected so much support and it has kept us alive. It’s given us strength to keep going. It’s more than any of us could have imagined and hoped for. All that is left to do is to bring this parasite (Putin) to justice so that he can’t cause any more damage to the world,” a deeply emotional Olena Kolodiazhna told me as she fought back tears last week.

Olena moved to Mallorca from Ukraine 20 years ago. “It was a decision based on wanting to live a normal, tranquil and good life and to bring my two sons up in a peaceful country where they would have a safe future.”

Olena is originally from Kharkiv, the second-largest city and municipality in Ukraine. It was the first capital of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, from December 1919 to January 1934, after which the capital relocated to Kyiv. It is just 30 kilometres from the Russian border and it is where her family lives.

“Initially I tried to get my sister out but she has a large family and wanted to stay. So, my family have moved out of the city to a local village where they are living in a single-storey house, although they spend most of the time in the basement for safety. They’ve transformed it into living quarters. They did not want to stay in the high-rise apartment blocks in the city; it was far too dangerous.

“I speak to them nearly every two hours. We keep in touch as much as we can but it’s extremely painful and deeply upsetting. They are trapped. Being so far east in the country and so close to Russia, they can’t even get across to the relative safety in the west of the country.

“I have been helping the Ukrainian Association in Mallorca and have obviously attended the two peace marches in Palma but sadly, and despite all of the donations of food and clothing etc. we have received, it is now virtually impossible to get them to Ukraine. It is also now very expensive to transport aid.

“You want to know how I feel? Sometimes I find it hard to even think about what’s happening in my country and to my people. I’m deeply sad, broken, I feel so impotent, but the reaction from the local community here in Mallorca, across Spain and the European Union has been overwhelming. I can’t believe how the West has reacted.

“The invasion was a terrible shock. How can this be happening in the 21st century? Putin is crazy, he’s schizophrenic. He’s a psychopath and he’s spent the past 20 years brainwashing his country and his people and now he’s talking about nuclear weapons and attacking nuclear installations while pumping out fake news.

“He does not even have the full support of the Communist Party. He’s a lone rogue, he doesn’t care what his own country thinks. He’s angered the whole world but the only way to stop him is to kill him. That’s what we need now, money to kill him. But that is going to be very complicated because he has many strong people behind him. We need the Russian people to speak out. If a million Russians took to the streets in protest, they couldn’t all be arrested.

“I know Ukraine has had its political problems in the past. There has been corruption and there are some very rich Ukrainians - thanks to Russia - but things have changed. The country has changed and, as the world can see, the people are not prepared to give up without a fight.

“Just like me and my people will never forget the support from Europe, I hope Ukraine does not get forgotten. Just knowing that you care is giving us strength to continue the fight.”