‘Don’t forget us’: Teen who escaped war-torn Ukraine to Norwich asks for support to continue

Yeva Maiakova was 17 when she left her home country. Credit: ITV Anglia

A teenager who was left hiding in a basement after watching her university city be blown apart has pleaded with people to remember Ukraine. 

Yeva Maiakova, 18, was just 17 when she heard the sounds of bombs and gunshots in her dormitory in Kharkiv.

The country's second largest city was being destroyed by Russian forces, and Yeva was in the middle of it all watching it happen. 

She said: “I started crying. I woke up my friend. We started packing up all of our things.

“After a week of hiding in a basement I made it back to my hometown in the Luhansk region.”

Yeva said the presence of Russian soldiers around her town made it not feel like home anymore.

She said: “When you saw those monsters on the streets, where you had been playing with your friends, the only thing you want to do is shout ‘Go away! It is my home!'."

Thankfully Yeva and her mum were taken into safety by hosts in Norwich, Norfolk. 

In a gathering to mark one year since the deadly invasion people from across the region, including Ukrainians and their host families, came together. 

Yeva, who now studies at the University of East Anglia, spoke to those at the gathering, thanking those who had supported and welcomed them.

“When I started writing this speech I started crying,” she said. 

“I want people to remember that the war isn’t over, it is still going on. We still need all the support we can get.”

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