At 5:10 am on February 24, 2022, Yeva Skalietska, then 12, woke up to the sound of explosions which her Granny said were missiles being fired at Ukraine by Russia.
“I’d grown up hearing about war, but I’d never been in one. I was terrified. None of us was prepared for a war. We just knew we had to leave the apartment and get to the nearest basement. My hands were shaking, my teeth rattling, I felt fear all around me. I realized I was having my first-ever panic attack.”
These recollections are from the journal that Yeva started when the war began, a place where she could write her thoughts and feelings about what was happening.
Eventually, Yeva and her Granny decided to leave their beloved city of Kharkiv after their apartment building was destroyed. With the help of old friends and family, and new friends like the journalists from the BBC, they made their way to Dublin, Ireland and are now safe within a welcoming community.
Yeva’s diary was published in the fall of 2022. It’s called “You Don’t Know What War Is – The Diary of a Young Girl From Ukraine.”
She wants the world to know how futile war is, how it destroys lives, homes and is especially hard on children.
We spoke with Yeva about her experience and thanked her for bravely sharing this chapter of her life.
If you would like to help the people of Ukraine and displaced Ukrainians in Canada, an excellent resource is the Canada-Ukraine Foundation.