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In The Grips of War, Ukraine Faces Bleak Demographic Future

The refugee crisis is exacerbating Ukraine’s irreversible demographic decline, which began in the Soviet era.

Kyiv, Ukraine – Halyna Tarasevych is not coming back home to Kyiv.

The 38-year-old fled Ukraine with her two children in March, weeks after the Russian invasion began.

They spent three months in an overcrowded refugee centre in neighbouring Moldova until Switzerland granted them asylum.

The children, 12-year-old Olena and seven-year-old Mykola, recently started school. They are surrounded by caring teachers and classmates who help them adapt to a German-language education.

“They like it here. We’ve seen so much kindness,” Tarasevych, who has an art history degree, told Al Jazeera.

Back in the Ukrainian capital, she had helped her husband Oleh run a stationery shop.

Ukraine infographic

Oleh still works in the shop but will join his family as soon as Ukraine starts letting men aged between 18 and 60 out of the country.

Unlike millions of other Ukrainians uprooted by the war, the Tarasevyches have not lost their comfortable three-bedroom apartment or jobs. Thankfully, none of their relatives or friends have been killed in the conflict.

But they are committed to a new life in Switzerland.

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