Back on February 23rd, 2022, a Ukrainian community out of Saskatoon was hopeful, but on edge, as tensions escalated with Russia.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine officially began the next day, February 24th, 2022, as today marks the one year anniversary of the act of aggression that has affected countless numbers of people all around the globe.
Canada, and especially Saskatchewan have a large contingent of Ukrainian people, so it was no surprise to see communities coming together to support people in need.
An early example of that came shortly after February 24th, when one of the U11 Rosetown Redwings hockey teams performed a special gesture in taping their sticks blue and yellow to show support for their teammates Kyryl Kuzmych and Dmytro Nikolaienko and their families.
Another story shortly after shared the background of a Ukrainian University of Saskatchewan student, as Iryna Kutska and her family moved to Saskatchewan in 2014 amid original tensions beginning nearly ten years ago. The current College of Law student who also has a background in political studies was unafraid to speak on the turmoil in her home country and share some good insight into the situation.
After that later on in May, word of a special benefit concert taking place in Rosetown reached out newsroom. Sindy's Benefit Concert for Ukraine was a massive success, and actually featured two refugees from Ukraine, Olga Biriukova from Kyiv, and Vitalli Diachok who had just arrived in Rosetown via Poland only three weeks prior and is a Grade 9 student at Rosetown Central High School.
While those stories come on the lighter side, the terrible situation overseas did result in some tough stories to share out of the newsroom as well.
A story out of Moose Jaw shared a Ukrainian family's journey to meet family in Canada, as they worked to make the free international flight headed to Regina back on July 4th that was carrying 230 passengers all fleeing the war. They were headed to Canada, but another story shared the tale of a Saskatchewan farmer who was killed in Ukraine while out on a mission around the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
As we got closer to the end of 2022, another local story hit our newsroom about Eston resident Jenelle McLean who is an active member in the community who rallied to help six new Ukrainian families to Canada feel at home in West Central; just in time for December 25th.
The final feature story ends on the ultimate light note. A Ukrainian boy who fled the war to play hockey in Canada found himself asking "When are we going to practice?"