Three Generations of Exile: Irina, Marina and Katia’s Journey from Mikolaiv to Vienna Amidst Ukraine’s War

Three generations of Ukrainian women endure enduring exile in Austria

Irina, Marina and Katia – grandmother, mother and granddaughter – hail from Mikolaiv, a city in southern Ukraine. However, they have not lived there since the war with Russia became too dangerous to remain in their homeland. Today, the trio faces exile together in Austria, where they try to integrate while hopes of a quick return dwindle with each passing day.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reports that there are 6 million Ukrainian exiles in Europe, making it an unprecedented wave since the Second World War. Most of them had initially planned to stay only a few months, but the bombings, lack of progress on the front lines and absence of a peace agreement make their return increasingly unlikely.

In February, the port city where Irina, Marina and Katia come from was once again attacked by Russian forces. Their story has been captured by Anne Beade of AFP News Agency.

“Ukraine’s future is so uncertain that I don’t see a way out for another year or two,” says Marina Troshchenko, 43-year-old mother and wife of an active-duty soldier who remains on the frontlines. Her voice is firm and determined as she shows photos of the damage sent by her remaining family members.

After months of searching for housing and struggling to find work despite submitting countless CVs, Irina Simonova found an apartment thanks to Marina’s job at a supermarket in Vienna. Daughter Katia also attends a Viennese high school with hopes of obtaining her Austrian high school diploma in 2025. Meanwhile, Irina dedicates herself to playing volleyball as part of her favorite sport team and forming new friendships through it.

Leave a Reply