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Ukraine conflict: arriving to safety in Moldova

The impact of war is felt hardest on ordinary people, civilians, and of them older people are particularly exposed. Ekaterina, 70, reached safety in Moldova. She was met by our colleagues working on the border, and shares her powerful experience with us. 

I am 70 years old. I am from Voznesensk, a town in southern Ukraine.

I came to Moldova with my grandson's wife and my great-grandson. My grandson stayed in Ukraine. My great-grandson is one year old, and is now without a father or peace and quiet. The war separates souls.

After dozens of hours on the road, in the cold, we finally got to a place where we now feel safe. We have relatives in Moldova and we are going to live with them.

The situation in which we are now, along with the whole world, feels like a nightmare.

From the first day I watched the news on TV about what was happening in my country, I couldn't believe it. I went to bed thinking that when I wake up, everything will be over, but, unfortunately, this was not the case. More and more innocent people are suffering, and this is the most painful thing.

At the time of our evacuation from Voznesensk there was fighting. We didn't know how to get out of the house quickly and safely. In my 70s, for the first time in my life, I felt a fear that I cannot explain.

By the time we left, half of the city had been destroyed. After we left, the bridges were destroyed, and the city barricaded.

I felt horrified, especially because my children were blocked in another city and could not leave the territory.

My soul hurts for the children who suffer in this war. 

I still hope that everything will end soon. I wish that when everything is over, we will have a place to return to. I would not survive this if the house where I have lived for my whole life and into which I put so much of my soul, would no longer exist.

I pray to the Lord to protect my loved ones from any harm, so that when the time comes, we will go back to Ukraine, and have a place to live.

I want people to be wise and aware of the danger they face and to understand that other people's lives should not be neglected. Ambition is useless. We have reached a peak when people are dying, children are suffering, mothers are crying because they do not know what their children's life will be like after the war. 

I want more than anything to feel peaceful again. Right now, I don't need anything but a place to sleep.

I am grateful to the Moldovans for their hospitality, but my greatest desire is to return to Ukraine and find my loved ones and my home safe and sound.


Age International has been working through its partner HelpAge International to support the needs of older people in Ukraine since 2014. We've been supporting almost 5,000 older people in eastern Ukraine receive vital support through a network of volunteers and through a community of space spaces. 

In the run-up to the conflict relief packages were distributed and our partners  have upscaled our work to provide continued support for those in need.

Help us to continue supporting older people around the world

Whether with better healthcare, a secure income or life-saving aid – your gift could help change lives.

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Last updated: Mar 25 2022

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