Caterina and Petza, Italian-Ukrainian couple who help resist from Italy

AGI – Katrina and Petza and their two three-year-old and 18-month-old daughter survived the war in Ukraine for a short time. Caterina is Italian, her age is 30, Petia is of Ukrainian descent of Russian descent, her family is from Odessa, she is 31 years old. They lived and worked in Kiev for eight years, building their future there. War has thwarted their plans, but they are fighting from afar for their friends, for their people.

“Two weeks ago we realized it was time to leave and we arrived in Italy,” Katrina told AGI by phone before leaving for Milan and taking part in anti-war protests scheduled for today. “Petza didn’t want to leave Kyiv, it’s his country, but he wanted to keep us safe. We arrived in Bergamo and he had a return ticket on the evening of February 23. At the last minute, I couldn’t convince him to get on that flight. A few hours later, that night. , It all started.

For three days, Katrina and Petza have been living “permanently connected” to computers and mobile phones. They are helping to coordinate aid for the city’s population. Five friends living in the center, close to sensitive targets, took refuge in their apartment in Kiev, a residential area southeast of the city.

Katrina and Petzar’s home became a haven for friends

“They did it so that the subway stations would not be turned into shelters. The house opposite ours was destroyed, and it was no longer safe there,” said Caterina.

The group of friends fled elsewhere. “They’ve taken our car somewhere else, although the roads are very dangerous at the moment. We’ve all seen videos of civilians crushing a Russian tank into a car in Kiev!”

Italian-Ukrainian couple who help resist from Italy

Kyiv, a building damaged by a Russian bomb

Petza works in catering and during these hours he arranges food distribution for the population with suppliers and supermarkets.

“All men, if they are not at home with children and adults, are enlisted in the regional defense,” said Caterina, adding that they often “speak Russian without problems.” The girl cites Moscow’s description of a divided country, where Russian-speaking minorities are persecuted and opposes Kyiv authorities as “inconsistent with reality” as evidence.

This peaceful coexistence between Russians and Ukrainians is evident even in the private schools where Katrina teaches Italian. “The scene in which a child asks a friend a question in Ukrainian and the other answers it in Russian is very frequent: Ukrainian colleagues have no problem speaking to me in Russian who are more accustomed to this language, because we use it. In the family too “.

Although Katrina knows Ukrainian, “I was never told to stop speaking Russian. A schoolmate of mine, who fled Donetsk in 2014 where he taught Ukrainian because he was threatened by pro-Russian militias, easily spoke Russian. The Ukrainians have no problem with the Russians: they have problems with PutinThey do not want to live in a dictatorship. “The day before yesterday, however, in Kiev they stopped speaking Russian:” There are many Russians in disguise of Ukrainian civilians and soldiers who want to create chaos and who knows what and the only way to separate them. “They do not speak Ukrainian.”

Katrina and Petza speak of a city that is “resisting.” “Last night was definitely a disaster, but instead there was a great response from the people: a lot of men took up arms, the restaurants my husband works in opened this morning and are cooking for doctors and volunteers.”

Exploited by war bulletins and help requests, Katrina and Petza have just begun to realize that there is now a future for reconstruction. It’s hard to think of going back to Kiev and “we have to work” while I’m in Bergamo.

So, they bring their CVO with them when they leave for Milan. “If we hadn’t had two little girls, we’d probably be there to help people,” concluded Katrina, not with a rifle in her hand, but with volunteers and feeding the doctors. “Ukrainians are responding to the ideals of this people. We hope this blockade will not last long.”

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