It was one last email check before bedtime for Morden's Yevgeniya Tatarenko when she saw what she first thought was spam.  The email was from Prime Minister Trudeau inviting her to Toronto to an exclusive event attended by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. 

"For the next couple hours, I was checking with my connections in Parliament, and other things, and other people, just asking if they ever heard anything about that. So, they told me, 'Oh, yes! Some of us got it too.' They told me it is actually the invitation to see the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy and I was like, 'What?' So, it just surprised that it wasn't spam. It was actually the invitation." 

She quickly made arrangements to fly to Toronto to the invitation only event, where she met many people, she worked with nationally in the last year in support of Ukraine's war efforts. She and her friends were first in line to get in.  

"The event itself it was a really, really powerful moment for all of us and I had the chance to see the best people that I met at the training Ukrainian Canadian Congress and that I met at other big events related to Ukrainian community. I had the chance to see again and again, Christina Freeland, and second time Justin Trudeau, and for the first time, Volodymyr Zelenskyy." 

She was able to shake their hands and to thank them for supporting the war efforts.   

Ukrainian President Volodymyr ZelenskyyUkrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy

She said, Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke briefly to the crowd thanking them for Canada's significant support and to give hope for victory. 

"Canada is one of the biggest supporters of Ukraine in this war and we heard the promise that Ukraine will win. No matter how hard it is. The message was, 'Thank you all. And please try to continue to fight with us.' He is absolutely happy that Ukraine has Canada and all Ukrainians and Canada that keeps helping." 

Tatarenko added, Prime Minister Trudeau said, "A win for Ukraine, is a win for the democratic world." She said it was a good feeling to know it is not just Ukraine's war and tragedy and they are not alone.  

Tatarenko with deputy prime minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland and First Lady of Ukraine Olena ZelenskaTatarenko with deputy prime minister of Canada Chrystia Freeland and First Lady of Ukraine Olena Zelenska

The night before she left for the big event, she was able to share with some of her supporters from Morden the opportunity she was able to experience on their behalf. A young girl who fundraised to help Tatarenko send medical bags and many other items to Ukraine for support, expressed her enthusiasm for such an honour.  

"I started to be quite emotional, you know, and started to feel like I can't keep my tears in. This is all about everything went through my heart and every single person that donated and every single person that I met, every single person I worked and still work with or where I fundraised with, or I helped train with and I sent supplies through or with. I remember everyone and everyone is involved into this success and my community, and my family, all my friends, my colleagues in Toronto, in Ottawa, I'm so happy I'm not alone in my fight for Ukraine. This is crazy, what all people can achieve when they have a huge, big dream." 

Tatarenko continues to hold out hope for victory in Ukraine. 

In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, PembinaValleyOnline encourages you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the PembinaValleyOnline app.