@ Cynthia Adina Kirkwood
20 Ukrainian Residents of Portugal Go Home to Fight
Demonstration of support for Ukraine
In response to the request to mobilize for defense, about 20 Ukrainians living in Portugal began their three-day bus journey return on February 27, according to SIC Noticias (February 28).
The bus left Albufeira.
Ukrainians constitute the fifth largest group of nationalities in Portugal at 4.3 percent, according to the 2020 Observatory for Migration report. In 2012, there were 44,074 Ukrainians, reported Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF). Portugal has a population of 10.3 million, according to the 2021 Census.
On February 24, Russian military forces invaded Ukraine without provocation.
Sergey Kolesnikov has been living in Portugal for 20 years, but the country of his birth needs him, he said. Before boarding, the Ukrainian told SIC Noticias that he has to go because his son and the rest of his family are there.
“Ukraine, we are on our way to help you.
“I also come back to defend my family and my land.”
He did not deny fear, which “is normal”. However, he was convinced that his arrival “will help” the resistance in Ukraine.
Kolesnikov did not go alone. His wife also went with him to take care of their family who lives in Lviv.
He said that he will do what the government asks of him:
“I was in a soldier there when Ukraine was still in the Soviet Union. If I have to take up arms, yes, of course, I will.”
Orgy, a 54, also ex-military, was on the same bus. His entire family -- children and grandchildren – is in Portugal, but there is “a problem with Putin and Russia”.
Orgy’s wife also was returning. Before the cameras, she gave a message through tears:
“Ukraine, we are on our way to help you.”
In addition to the people, the bus carried boxes of essential goods such as medicine for the Ukrainian military and civilians.