New Seams of Solidarity: Wales and Ukraine

From Planet 232

by Mick Antoniw AM

Mick Antoniw AM draws on his family background as part of the Ukrainian refugee community, and his experience on the EU’s Committee of the Regions, to detail how Wales could build on its historic relationship with Ukraine, from coalfield solidarity to language planning, and learn from other non-EU member nations further east how Wales could forge an alternative set of relationships with the EU after Brexit.

I recently attended the funeral of a ninety-two-year-old former Welsh miner from Llantwit Fardre, Paul Kuziowych. In earlier years when I had met him he had a story to tell about how he came to be in Wales. It was a story similar to that of many of his compatriots, but is unknown to many in Wales. Like thousands of others he was taken by the Germans from his home in the town of Bitla in the heart of the ethnic Boyko area of the Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine. He was fifteen years old and alongside thousands of other young men and women of Ukraine was transported to work on a farm in Germany as slave labour. After the war, and with Stalin’s repressive policies in Ukraine, he was unable to return home.

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