'I have not slept tonight': Ukrainians in Catalonia 'scared' over Russia

Constant contact with families and friends as situation between Eastern European countries intensifies

Ukrainians living in Catalonia demonstrating outside the Ukrainian consulate in Barcelona (by Gerard Escaich Folch)
Ukrainians living in Catalonia demonstrating outside the Ukrainian consulate in Barcelona (by Gerard Escaich Folch) / Gerard Escaich Folch

Gerard Escaich Folch | Barcelona

February 24, 2022 09:41 AM

Catalonia is home to around 25,000 Ukrainians and the increasing tension between Russia and their native country is worrying them. Some have been living in Barcelona for over 20 years but still have family and friends in Ukraine. 

"I have not slept tonight," Nadia Chernova, a Ukrainian national based in the Catalan capital told Catalan News this morning, before Russia's full-scale invasion began in the early hours of Thursday. Part of her family is in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, but she has friends and family on both sides of the border. "I feel terrible," she added.  

Ivan Eytsar, a Ukrainian living in Barcelona for longer than 22 years, is also "worried" about the situation in his country. Despite his wife and sons being in Catalonia, his brothers remain back home. They live on the western side of Ukraine, closer to Europe, but Eytsar is "worried for [his] land, for Ukraine, as [he] does not differentiate between the west or the south," he said to Catalan News.

Some of the Ukrainians Catalan News spoke to agree that their country has been in a tense situation "for eight years now." Although, with the new developments, Nadia Chernova says she is now "scared."  

In early 2014, the Russian Federation annexed the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea. The annexation is part of the wider conflict between both Eastern European neighbors. 

"Ukraine is our land and we do not want to give it to Russian president Vladimir Putin," head of the Ukrainians in Catalonia ‘Djerelo’ association, Olga Dzyuban, told this media outlet. "We want Russian troops to leave our country, to leave our home," she added. Russian troops have since launched attacks on the entire country.

For Barcelona’s Ukrainian consul Artem Vorobyov, the movement of troops by the Russian Federation has "violated our state sovereignty," adding "it is a flagrant violation of international law.". 

Fake news

With the arrival of the internet and the amount of news published by the minute, some of the Ukrainians living in Barcelona are concerned about the veracity of certain information related to the conflict between both nations.