We are currently helping to support a Ukrainian lawyer Oksana who has had to flee to Poland with her family from their home in Kyiv.
Oksana wishes to tell her story and ensure that as many people as possible are aware of the direct and very personal impact of the current situation on her own family and also on her colleagues and their families.
My name is Oksana Voznyak (maiden name Kneychuk). I am a partner at Eterna Law firm headquartered in Kyiv, Ukraine. The morning of February 24 2022 completely changed the peaceful flow of modern European history and the life of my family.
I woke at 5am to the sounds of massive explosions. My two daughters (aged three and nine) were fast asleep and couldn’t have realized that their lives will never be the same.
My husband convinced me to leave Kyiv immediately to protect our children. We were not ready for such an immediate escape. Within 30 minutes I grabbed the most important belongings which fitted into two suitcases, grabbed our cat, children and we rushed to the car to travel to the city of Lviv (in western Ukraine).
While going outside we heard more and more explosions. I was extremely afraid to travel by car, however at that point it seemed to be the only correct decision, which (as it turned out later), has saved our lives.
While sitting in the car we purchased train tickets to Poland. The road to the West was hard, we did not have any food and were afraid to stop in order not to lose precious time. Our car was stopped a few times on its way because of the tanks and inspections by military people.
Nevertheless, we managed to reach Lviv. Our train was delayed for almost five hours. My three-year old daughter was constantly crying, asking me when she will get home. Finally, when the train arrived – this was one of the most longed for moments in my life. With God’s help we safely reached Poland at night, on February 24.
My Polish friends have kindly offered their total support and provided accommodation for my family, for which I am wholeheartedly thankful. It is such a relief to know that my daughters will not have to live with the horrors of war.
Now it’s the beginning of a new chapter in the life of my family. It seems that my successful legal career and our assets in Kyiv are far away and I need to start from tabula rasa and find ways to support my family.
Now that I am safe in Poland I am doing my best to support the Ukrainian people by working with foreign colleagues.
These days the body of Ukraine is heavily wounded, covered in tears and blood. However, I am convinced that Ukraine will win and will again shine in its glory.