A UKRAINIAN woman living in Malaga opens her heart to the Olive Press and expresses her worries about the Russian invasion.

Halyna Surkova, 53, originally from Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, works as a translator in Malaga.

Her biggest fear is for her daughter who is still in Ukraine, cowering in a basement as Putin’s forces surround the city.

“I am suffering a lot of distress, I had to visit the doctor because this situation is heavily impacting my mental health,” she revealed.

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In happier times enjoying life in Malaga. Photo: Halyna Surkova

Plus, her complicated family situation is adding to the stress.

“My ex-husband is from Russia and is in the army. It is terrible to think that he is among forces that could kill his daughter.”

She has had intermittent contact with family back in Ukraine since the invasion began last Thursday.

“Some family members, especially children, are very afraid. They are living in basements and in fear for their lives.”

Describing the close relationship between the Russian and Ukrainian communities in Spain, she insists she doesn’t blame Russians individually.

“I have a very good relationship with some Russians here,” she said. “The majority of them disagree with Putin, but they are scared to share their disagreement.” 

According to the Spanish Institute of Statistics (INE), 112,000 Ukrainians live in Spain, 56% of whom are based in Madrid, Valencia and Andalucia, while 79,485 Russians are officially registered as residents.

Despite all the damage that this war is causing to Ukraine, she is trying to be positive about the future. “If Ukraine joins Europe, it will grow economically because Ukrainians are very hard-workers.”

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