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May 24, 2022

 

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Viktor Chovka: Roma in the Ukrainian Army are fighting the Russian occupiers, we were born in Ukraine and are defending it

26.2.2022 6:30
Collage:  Romea.cz, PHOTO:  Facebook page of Myroslav Horvat (2022)
Collage: Romea.cz, PHOTO: Facebook page of Myroslav Horvat (2022)

Romani people are among those in the Ukrainian Army fighting the Russian occupiers according to Viktor Chovka, a reporter for the TV21 Ungar radio station in Uzhhorod, Ukraine, who has confirmed that fact to Radio Romano of Sweden in an interview. Chovka said he himself is now returning from England to join his family in Ukraine. 

The Russian Army launched an extensive air, land and sea attack on Ukraine in the early morning hours of Thursday, 24 February. This means the Russian Federation has launched the biggest ground war in Europe since the Second World War. 

Yesterday the attacks concentrated on the capital, Kyiv. "Many Romani people are afraid, they want to leave because they have family in Slovakia, in the Czech Republic, in England, Romani people have family all over the world," Chovka said in the interview, adding that many of the Roma in the Ukrainian Army are unable to leave now.

"There are many Romani soldiers in Ukraine," Chovka said. "Many of the Roma who became soldiers long ago signed contracts with the Ukrainian Army and cannot leave because nobody will allow them to cross the border, they have to go fight this war."

"There are also many Roma who want to go to war, because this is the place we were born - Ukraine," Chovka said. Myroslav Horvat, a Romani activist in Ukraine, has told Radio Romano that "Romani people are in shock, there is a lot of stress here because it's quite complicated, for example, just to buy groceries," adding that most Romani people are concerned about how they will make a living because their jobs ended when the war began. 

Horvat is sharing photographs of the Romani soldiers in the Ukrainian Army on his Facebook profile, which features the flag of Ukraine. Julian Kondur, another Romani activist with the Chiricli organization in Ukraine, describes the situation of Romani people in Kyiv as follows:  "We are all doing our best to stay safe, to be with our families, and to be prepared to defend our homes."

"We are relying on our army and we will defend our country," Kondur said. A general mobilization was ordered by the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, just before midnight on Thursday. 

As long as martial law is in effect, men between the ages of 18 and 60 are not allowed to leave Ukraine. The mobilization applies to reservists and those who are subject to conscription in Ukraine.

ryz, translated from Romanes to Czech by Michal Beníšek, Štefan Balog and Michal Mižigár, translated from Czech to English by Gwendolyn Albert
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Roma, Russia, Ukraine, war



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