Idahoans along with the rest of the world are shaken to see Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, forcing families to separate, civilians to fight, and over a million people to flee the country.
Many Idahoans are wondering how they can help and if our state is preparing to receive more refugees from Ukraine.
Idaho has historically resettled people from the former Soviet Union facing persecution. Nearly 200 Ukrainian refugees have resettled in Idaho in the past two decades, including five people this year.
As we watch this unfolding crisis with heavy hearts, we do not anticipate a large increase of refugees from Ukraine to come to Idaho in the coming weeks. Organizations in countries neighboring Ukraine are working diligently to provide shelter and necessities. Keep reading for ideas on how to support them.
The U.S. currently does not have a program to rapidly resettle a large number of Ukrainian refugees, like we saw with Operation Allies Welcome and Afghanistan. The federal government will allow thousands of Ukrainians living in the U.S. temporarily to extend their stay rather than being forced to return to a war zone.
We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine and with Idahoans whose families and roots are there.
“It’s the second war for me,” said Mila, an 84-year-old from Ukraine who moved to Idaho in 2008 to be near family.
Mila was 3 years old when Nazi Germany invaded Kyiv during World War II. She fled the country with her mother during the war. Her father lost his life in battle.
This week, Mila was distraught to see Kyiv’s Babyn Yar Holocaust memorial damaged in an airstrike, which killed five people.
“Obviously Europe wants to prevent another situation like World War II,” said Mila’s grandson, Tom, who was born in Ukraine the same month it gained independence in 1991. “But we’re starting to see all the same patterns, and it’s a lot more hurtful for my grandmother for living through that and seeing the same patterns happen.”
Even as her heart breaks to see her country under attack, Mila has hope in the resilience of the Ukrainian people. She's encouraged to see that people around the world are standing with Ukraine.
“People are right now united — at least on that,” said Mila’s daughter, Alla.
“We just see that it’s not acceptable.”
The family also expressed concern for the people of Russia.
"Russian people right now, economically they are really suffering," Alla said. "They are actually joining Ukraine in this saying, please, stop this war.”
WAYS TO GIVE
If you would like to support organizations providing on-the-ground aid to Ukrainian refugees, here are some reputable options to consider:
Please take care when donating to relief efforts during any crisis. Here are tips from the Better Business Bureau on how to avoid scams.
U.S. CITIZENS IN UKRAINE
The State Department urges U.S. citizens in Ukraine to stay in contact by completing this Crisis Intake form. U.S. citizens seeking to depart Ukraine or their relatives can also call 1-833-741-2777 (in the United States) or 1-606-260-4379 (from overseas) for immediate assistance.
Author: Holly Beech
Idaho Office for Refugees Communications Manager