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Ukrainian community’s concerns about Russian build-up

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By Newsdesk
Front
Ukrainian community’s concerns about Russian build-up

MEMBERS of the close-knit Ukrainian community in Dumfriesshire have expressed deep concerns for relatives and friends in their forebears’ homeland.

It follows mounting tension as increasing numbers of Russian troops have massed during recent weeks on Ukraine’s eastern border.

An estimated 60 Ukrainian displaced nationals and former POWs settled in Dumfriesshire after World War Two following internment at Hallmuir Camp, near Lockerbie, where they worked on local farms and in woodlands.

They had all become displaced during the turmoil in eastern Europe and in the Cold War decades feared returning to their homeland as their lives were at serious risk from occupying USSR forces.

Now, more than 70 years on since the original Ukrainians settled in the area, many marrying and raising families, the subsequent generations have maintained an interest in the culture and language of the eastern european country.

Peter Kormylo, pictured, a director of the London-based Ukrainian Information Service, helps publish and distribute a weekly newsletter to communities across the UK which gives updates in the Ukrainian and English languages.

The retired head teacher and education advisor, who lives in Dumfries, said: “Most in our Dumfriesshire community are watching the situation closely through the media, online and, in some cases, using special satellite dishes which receive Ukrainian language TV channels.

“There are genuine fears that if there is not strong support for Ukraine from the western nations Putin will just roll in from the east and into the rest of the Ukraine.

“This is a very serious crisis. The consequences of an invasion could be far-reaching and must be prevented at all costs. We need to learn the lessons of how the Second World War started. If there is a war in Ukraine, who knows where it could all end?”

Peter pointed out the links between the Dumfriesshire community and their friends and family in the Ukraine had become closer in recent times through social media and the use of platforms such as Zoom.

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