A day after Russia invaded Ukraine, the expat Ukrainian population in Luxembourg is in a state of shock, forced to look after their families, to provide Ukrainians with donations, shelter and medicine and exhausted from nights with no sleep. In the day, they still find time to organize demonstrations and to let their voices be heard. They are eager to help and make a difference. Philippe Schockweiler attended the protests on February 25th.
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They are around 400, mostly Ukrainians, but also a few Russians that came in support of the call of the LUkraine Asbl to protest in the city center of Luxembourg. Inna Yaramenko looks small, standing at the Place Clairefontaine. Behind her the majestic Grand-Duchesse Charlotte statue extends her arm. It is a symbolic and devastating image: During the Second World War, many Luxembourgers would listen to her speeches over illegal BBC broadcasts during Nazi occupation, and now, this is exactly what her home country is facing in the regards of total annihilation and annexation by the biggest country in the world.
Just like the statue of Grand-Duchesse Charlotte, Inna is reaching out her hand, asking for help – but she fears that the international community will let the Ukrainians down. Inna is a 40 year old Ukrainian who has lived in Luxembourg for four years. She works in Luxembourg’s small cinema industry. She has known the hardship of the 2014 Maidan Revolution, and the following invasion of Crimea and the occupation and breakaway of the Donbass region in the East. "I was born in the Soviet Union, with Belarusians, Russians and Ukrainians all being brothers and friends, and now these brothers move against us", she explains calmly. The last few hours have been a nightmare for her. Her sister in Kyiv and her mother around the city of Sumy, where Russian forces rushed through with tanks on their way to Kyiv: "My mama called me and sent me pictures of Russian tanks in front of her residence. We are in a constant state of shock".
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