In an attempt to escape from a likely aggression of the Kremlin, Crimean Tatar families are leaving the peninsula. The Crimeans are moving en masse to Ukraine’s western regions. A lot of them have come to Vinnytsia oblast too. The oblast and city authorities are giving them all the needed help, lodging them in dormitories, social services centers, and churches. As of March 12, there were 250 refugees from Crimea, the lion’s share of them being Crimean Tatars, including women and children. The youngest girl is barely four months old.
“There are two nations in Ukraine, which do not have a state other than Ukraine – it is the Ukrainians themselves and we, Crimean Tatars,” says Emil who has brought his family to Vinnytsia. “We came to Crimea when I was 16. I found my love and got married in this land. I have five children. My house and my business are here. But, seeing the escalation of tension, we decided not to wait and protect our families and religion. We came to Vinnytsia after a phone call from the acquaintances who had moved here before. The children live in good conditions, have three meals a day, and are always cared for by doctors and social workers. The wives set up a special class for them and teach there because the most of the kids had attended Tatar-language schools but, frankly speaking, they understand both Ukrainian and Russian quite well. My eldest 10-year-old son often asks me when we will go back home. I do not hide information from him and say in an adult, manly, way: when there is no enemy there.”