Sat. Oct 1st, 2022

Calgary’s Sergey Abramov gripped the screen of his phone, his eyes fixed on a video from Russia.

A child can be heard crying for his dad, who has reportedly been sent to fight in Ukraine.

Abramov and his wife Tatjana Artemjeva have called Calgary home for 13 years. But their thoughts were with family and friends back home in Russia, as well as all those in Ukraine.

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization of troops and repeated threats to use nuclear weapons in the event of a threat to Russian territory. Russia’s defense minister said 300,000 reservists would be called up to fight in Ukraine.

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“I worry that all the guys who are the same age as me — all my classmates and colleagues — could potentially be sent on a truck to Ukraine,” said Abramov, who himself received some training when he lived in Russia.

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“They say it’s ‘partial mobilization’, but that’s a tricky word. It’s not partial,” Artemjeva added.

“He can come to everyone’s house and we know how it is done in Russia. The judicial system does not work, so it cannot protect people.”

Artemyeva has been helping Ukrainians since the war broke out.

“This is terrible. We are very worried about many of our friends,” she said. “No one we know wants to go and participate in this war. People are just very scared.”

Putin’s announcement comes after a list of Kremlin failures in his offensive against Ukraine, including a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive in Kharkiv, a city only about an hour from the Russian border.

Liza Kanishcheva grew up in Kharkiv and now calls Canmore home. Her parents fled Ukraine in March and now live with their daughter.

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“Mobilization means that the war will continue and there will be a lot of loss of life not only among Ukrainians but also among Russians,” Nikolai Kanishcheva said in Russian, translated by his daughter.

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Liza sold t-shirts and stickers and held fundraising dinners.

She raised enough money to send three drones and 14 explosion-proof lights to firefighters and her former classmates who are now fighting on the front lines. She insists that Putin’s threats will not reduce the strength of Ukrainian fighters.

“The structure (of the Russian army) will break at some point, but we are fighting for the truth,” Liza said.

While recent threats and the build-up of Russian forces no doubt fueled uncertainty, hope still prevails for people like Liza’s parents.

With tears in her eyes, Liza’s mother said she hoped to see mother and son again.

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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