France's Ukrainian community fear 'another Chechnya' in their homeland


For the Ukrainian community in France the news of Russia's invasion of their country sparked fears for families back home and concern over the spectre of a European war, while also prompting a desire to show solidarity. Four young Ukrainian and Russian woman from Toulouse, a city in south-west France which is twinned with Kyiv, told Mediapart of their reaction to the dramatic and tragic events of Thursday February 24th. Emmanuel Riondé reports.

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The news of Russia's invasion of Ukraine on Thursday February 24th caused anguish among the Ukrainian community in Toulouse in south-west France. “I've been shaking since I got up. I didn't even take the time to grab a shower, I immediately started thinking about organising the community,” said Irina at midday, a few hours after the invasion had begun. This 38-year-old woman, who has lived here for eight years with her husband and two children, and who works in accounts at a local company, said there were around “one hundred Ukrainian families” who were active in the community's local network.