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“We’re abandoning our home to fate while others are now defending it for us”

“We’re abandoning our home to fate while others are now defending it for us”

On the fifth day of the war the Ukrainian couple Marc Raymond Wilkins and his wife Olha were virtually the only people crossing the Polish border in the direction of Ukraine. “On the other side of the road we saw a line of cars 15 kilometres long coming towards us.”

On the first day of the war they left Kyiv and fled to Berlin where they felt relieved at first but in a few days a feeling of huge emptiness and bad consciences about leaving friends and family behind flooded them. “We couldn’t just sit in Berlin, drinking coffee and not doing anything,” Wilkins explains.

Before the war broke out Swiss expat Marc Raymond Wilkins has lived in Kyiv for six years with his Ukrainian wife Olha. She works in software; he is a successful film director and a member of the Swiss Film Academy. Wilkins also runs a contemporary art gallery, The Naked Room that is set to represent Ukraine at the Venice Biennale in 2022.

Now the couple are back in Ukraine. They wanted to assist at the Polish-Ukrainian border at first but after arriving there they saw that everything was already “super organised” by neighbourhood helpers, associations and charities.

So Marc and Olha are currently staying in western Ukrainian city of Lviv. The first thing they were about to do is to donate blood, offer their driving services and fill sandbags or any other work they can be useful with.

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