Dmytro Savchuk's life was changed beyond what he could ever have imagined just hours before the war started in Ukraine.
Savchuk arrived in Winnipeg on the 20th of June, making it just over a month that he's been in Manitoba. He arrived from just outside Ukraine after having made, what was intended to be, a short visit to Georgia away from his home.
He first visited Steinbach with Portage la Prairie as his next stop on Thursday, July 21, to attend a career fair. The fair was organized exclusively for Ukrainian visitors looking for a home in Canada in hopes they would choose our community to settle.
He shares his thoughts upon his arrival in our city of possibilities moments after he stepped foot off the tour bus.
"I can see not too much, but as far as I see, I like it," says Savchuk. "The people are very friendly and it's quite a nice town."
Savchuk says it was only two days before Putin upscaled the ongoing conflict against Ukraine with an all-out war when his daughter made a statement at their home in Netishyn, Khmelnitsky.
"My older daughter, Anna -- she's 23 -- started to say, 'Well, dad, I feel unsafe. Let's get out of here,'" explains Savchuk. "And I say, 'Well, we cannot because, first of all, I don't believe the war will really start. It's the 21st century. Maybe they will do some activities in the east like in the previous eight years, but I don't think it will be something big. Second, we have kids 11 and 16. They go to school. They cannot go, anywhere."
However, Savchuk notes, that she would not relent and continued to tell him that they should leave and run away from their home and get out.
"So, on the 23rd of February, one day before the war started, we flew to Batumi, Georgia," says Savchuk. "And when we woke up, we realized that something big happened. That's how I happened to be here. Otherwise, I just wouldn't be able to be here, because men before 60 are not allowed to leave. So, this is my story of how I happened to be in Canada thanks to my daughter."
Savchuk adds, "She changed the direction of my life."
Savchuk's children, Anna, Anastasiya and Alex were in the following video about the war made by a film artist who worked in Russia's top media company who left Russia due to disagreement with Putin over the entire Ukraine conflict.