Shropshire Star

Ukrainian refugees gather in Shrewsbury to keep hope alive after two years of war in their homeland

More than 100 refugees and their Shrewsbury supporters gathered at The Quarry on Saturday to mark two years since the illegal invasion of Ukraine by Russian troops.


Watch more of our videos on Shots!
and live on Freeview channel 276

The event by the war memorial in the park was organised by Shropshire Support Refugees hub, which has been coordinating a range of activities to help Ukrainian refugees settle in to the area since war broke out two years ago.

Saturday's event saw the Ukrainian national anthem "Shche ne vmerla Ukrainy i slava, i volia" sang as the crowd formed a circle to reflect on the conflict that has hit their European nation.

"Together, we stand in solidarity, advocating for a future free from conflict and filled with harmony. Your presence and prayers are crucial as we support Ukraine and all impacted by war," said organiser Olha Voropai.

Nika Ostratuyk and her mother Natalia Soroka from Ukraine were among a group of refugees at the event who said they had come to say thank you to the British people.

Organiser Olha Voropai (Shropshire Supports Refugees) with Nika Ostratuyk and her mother Natalia Soroka giving the symbol for peace

They said: "It is a very important day for us today for every single Ukrainian, it does not matter where they are.

"We want to say a huge thank you to all British people who support us and who share our pain today and for the last two years."

Some of the refugees and supporters on Saturday

English teacher Philippa from Shrewsbury said she came as it was important to mark the occasion.

"The hub felt it was important as it is now two long years since the war started. Emotions are up and down. Some days everyone feels hopeful. Some days there is bad news.

"But we are all here together still hoping for a good outcome soon. In the meantime, Ukrainians are making a really positive contribution to Shrewsbury. They have learnt English, they are working and finding their lives although it is difficult for them to plan."

Putin's Russian forces entered Ukraine on February 24, 2022. The invasion became the largest attack on a European country since the Second World War.