“I have spoken with my parents and my sisters. Luckily they are fine. At a distance you suffer more. I live in Mallorca with my heart in the Ukraine”. It is night in Palma and Andrey Denisov recounts the sensations he experienced as soon as he found out that Russia invaded his country at dawn on Thursday.
Denisov has lived in the Balearic Islands for a year and a half and works in construction. His first destination was Alcudia, now he lives in Palma. “I cried at work, there is a lot of panic and worry,” adds the 25-year-old born in Kharkiv, a city of 1.5 million people located just 40 kilometers from Russia.
And he immediately describes a situation that also happened at the beginning of the pandemic. “People are afraid and go to the supermarket, so there is a shortage. The war started and nobody knows when it will end”, he adds.
The feeling of anxiety that appears in Denisov’s tone of voice multiplies in the almost 2,300 Ukrainians who live in the Balearic Islands, according to the latest census.
“It is not a very happy day. In the morning I contacted my relatives. Luckily they are fine,” says artist Bogdan Tsupryk. He feels relieved because a while ago he brought his mother. “My wife is Spanish and we have a little daughter. Last August was the last time I was in Ukraine. It was a nice summer, I didn’t expect something like this to happen.”
Tsupryk has been living in Mallorca for 17 years and works at Son Amar. The possibility of a night bombing in Kiev is what worries him most.
A troubled area since 2014
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine comes from the dissolution of the Soviet Union. But in 2014 Putin’s intervention in Crimea revived the state of alarm in the region. At that time Denisov lived in his country, but he emigrated so that he would not be called up to the army. He spent several years in Argentina and Brazil, and considers that his stay in South America made him see the world in a different way.
“Russia always releases false information about Ukraine and Europe. They contaminate the population with inventions. I have relatives in Russia and I have argued with them. Especially with a cousin. It is convenient to go out a little to see the world”, he considers.
Tsupryk, for his part, adds: “My life is now here. I have friends who joined the army as volunteers. It is a way to defend your country, your friends, your children. If I were in Ukraine, I would also go to the army.”