On April 13, 2023, I visited a refugee centre in Sevastopol, Crimea. The name of the center is “We are together Sevastopol”. It assists both refugees and the families of soldiers who are fighting for Russia in the Ukraine war.
For my visit, I was accompanied by a professional translator whom I hired for my journey to Crimea. Her name is Tanya. She is a long-time resident of Yalta.
While Tanya and I were at the refugee center, I was afforded the opportunity to interview its director. Her name is Victoria, and she is from Sevastopol. An unedited video of my 21-minute conversation with Victoria appears below.
Before I interviewed Victoria, Tanya and I toured the reception area of the facility. This video shows what we saw there (the voice you hear in the video is Tanya’s):
My conversation with Victoria was wide-ranging. We discussed the forms of assistance that the Russian Federation provides to refugees, the areas of Ukraine from which the refugees come, the places where the refugees go after coming to Sevastopol, and the effect that the Ukraine war has had on the city of Sevastopol. (Sevastopol has come under attack repeatedly since the war began.)
From Victoria, we learned that the centre has assisted up to 38,000 refugees and that approximately 50% of them have come from areas of Ukraine that are controlled by the Ukrainian military. We also learned that some of the refugees assisted by the centre came to Sevastopol after having passed through a European country to the West of Ukraine.
Toward the end of the interview (starting at 15:45), I asked Victoria whether she had a message for the peoples of the West about how best to end this devastating war. Her answer might surprise you. The unedited video of my conversation with Tanya can be watched here:
Lovely woman. How I wish more Canadians realized the predicament into which our government has put people like her. She just wants to help her fellow and sister Russians to survive and prosper on their land, yet we persist in literally poking them with our weapons and NATO installations, forcing them to defend themselves against ignorant strangers who scarcely understand them, and who only have eyes for the money they would gain from expanding into their territory. Putin’s 2022 invasion may have been an error of judgment, but the Russian people back him because he stood up for them against our arrogance and craziness. After decades of trying to make friends with us, they will now look elsewehere.