ADDED ON: 05/01/2022

Brave Ukrainian student flees to Edinburgh after LGBT+ safe spaces disappear due to war

4/30/22 | Edinburgh Live

A brave Ukrainian student has fled to Edinburgh after his country became extremely unsafe for the LGBT+ community. Nick, a 22-year-old journalism student from Kyiv says he is “physically and emotionally destroyed” by what is happening in his wartorn home country. The student’s family are still stuck in Ukraine. Nick was attending Tavrida National V.I. Vernadsky University in Kyiv and about to go into his final year studying journalism. Since coming to Edinburgh he is continuing his studies online and is also embarking on English lessons to improve his language, with hopes of working in the UK media covering the war. Speaking to Edinburgh Live, the 22-year-old said: “Last month I went to my family home when the war started because I hadn’t seen them in three years. “The place where they live is dangerous, I didn’t leave the house because the streets were so dangerous especially if you are a male between the military age. “Its so dangerous because the Russian army are in the streets, and they take Ukrainians in occupied territory and send Ukrainians to fight on the front line against Ukrainians. Military age in Ukraine is 18-25 years old, Nick explained that if you were seen out on the streets you could be captured by the military. When leaving the country Nick ended up getting stuck in an occupied region of Ukraine, which is under Russian military control. He spoke about the terrifying experience of just walking the streets as he claims there is a chance of being captured and forced to fight on the front line against Ukrainian people. The student said that it was especially scary as those captured by Russian Military and forced to fight often end up losing their lives. “I was there for months in occupied territory but I found a way to get to Latvia then Edinburgh. “It was a long way and a dangerous way but I did it and got here safely, maybe it was just luck” he said. When arriving into the capital, Nick was greeted by volunteers who settled him into a hotel close to the airport before sorting long term accommodation. He said: “When I arrived in Edinburgh at night I met volunteers, who told me about the programme. “I arrived in Scotland under the Homes for Ukrainian scheme and applied one month ago and three weeks ago I got the visa. “My first night was spent in a hotel close to the airport, then the next day the volunteers took me to a donation centre and now I live with 15 other Ukrainians in a house, on Minto Street. “Together we help each other and speak about Edinburgh and discuss which documents we need. “Volunteers are supporting us here, it’s really cool. A lot of people have helped me since I arrived, it’s so amazing.”

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