Thirty-seven-year-old Ukrainian Dmitry Shcherbakov, the founder of Liga.Tennis Center and Academy in Umalas, Kerobokan, is married to Ayunanda, an Indonesian. The couple has a son, now 5.
When Shcherbakov was traveling in Bedugul yesterday at around 10am, he received news about Russia’s invasion.
“I didn’t believe it’s true. Right away, I contacted all my family members. My sister, 34, is seven months pregnant. I managed to get her to leave Kyiv to our parents’ house in a small town in Ukraine,” he told Coconuts today, adding that he will try to get his sister to Bali so she can give birth safely on the island.
“I’m staying in touch with them all the time. Every single hour there’s new information so nobody really knows what’s going to happen.”
Scherbakov is only one out of some 3,000 Ukrainians currently residing in Indonesia, the majority of whom live in Bali according to the Ukrainian Embassy. Like other Ukrainians in the country, he plans to continue spreading the word and donate to relief organizations to help his people.
“We hope that the Indonesians will openly support Ukraine,” he said.
Indonesia’s President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has issued a statement against the invasion in his official Twitter account, but the country has yet to impose sanctions against Russia as many around the world have.
Sergey Sokolov, 35, originally from Kyiv, lived most of his life in his home country before moving to Bali two-and-a-half years ago. For almost a year, he has been running his own marketing agency in Bali.
Sokolov said that his mother, 72, and sister are still in Kyiv. The last word that he received from them is that they have been hiding in a basement parking lot for two days.
“My motherland is the most peaceful country in the world. We have never had any terrorist attacks [up until now]. We are asking for the help of the world! We need to stop this war and stop Russia,” he said, adding that President Vladimir Putin and his administrations should face The International Court of Justice in The Hague over the invasion.
Similarly, Dasha Shigaeva, a digital marketer who has stayed in Bali throughout the pandemic, said that her family and friends are hiding in their homes and metro stations from the bombing. While they are stocked with food and supplies, she is concerned about their safety.
“My plans for the following days and weeks are to spread the news and join forces with Ukrainians around the world to support our army and put pressure on Western politics to help stop the war,” she said, before adding that people can contact her if they wish to help by donating money or aid.
“To all the fellow Indonesians and people who are reading this – please follow and spread the news,” she added.
Another Ukrainian, Anna Alexandrovna, said a number of Ukrainians residing in Bali gathered in Tugu Renon in Denpasar yesterday to protest the war and rally against peace. Many of them called for an end to the war and for President Putin to be held accountable.
“We have no choice. We fight. We are free people and our freedom is above all,” she told Coconuts.
Meanwhile, a Ukrainian woman who only wanted to be identified as Olha, is worried because her family lives on the border with Romania and Moldova where there are few military camps in the city.
“I am extremely worried and barely slept this night, constantly checking and monitoring the situation. Some of my friends are leaving their houses, packing their belongings and they are leaving, not knowing if they will come back to their habitats again. My only hope is that this awful and terrible war will end soon,” she said.