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Ukrainian teenager vows to stay in Lviv as army ‘needs her support’

Prior to the war, Nadiia Shymkiv was a student at Ukraine Catholic University studying law.

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Nadiia Shymkiv has vowed to stay in her city so she can volunteer (Nadiia Shymkiv/PA)

Nadiia Shymkiv has vowed to stay in her city so she can volunteer (Nadiia Shymkiv/PA)

Nadiia Shymkiv has vowed to stay in her city so she can volunteer (Nadiia Shymkiv/PA)

A teenager who is volunteering as an aid worker in Ukraine has vowed to remain in the country to help those fighting as “they need her support”.

Nadiia Shymkiv, 17, said she had an opportunity to flee her city of Lviv, after the war with Russia began, but decided to stay to help the aid efforts in the country.

Prior to the war, Nadiia was a student at Ukrainian Catholic University studying law but is now using her time to help co-ordinate efforts with other volunteers and gather supplies.

Nadiia said while at first she was fearful she since feels like she has a sense of duty to help those in need.

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Clothes donations and sleeping pads are stored inside a church in Lviv (Bernat Armangue/AP/PA)

Clothes donations and sleeping pads are stored inside a church in Lviv (Bernat Armangue/AP/PA)

AP/PA Images

Clothes donations and sleeping pads are stored inside a church in Lviv (Bernat Armangue/AP/PA)

She told the PA news agency: “Our army and soldiers are protecting us and I’m really proud of that.

“I had the opportunity to leave my city because I have lots of family in Poland, in Germany and in other countries, but I think that I need to be here because I know that I can really help the Ukrainian people and the army.

“They need my support. Being young doesn’t mean I need to leave my country when I’m really needed here.”

The day the war broke out in Ukraine, Nadiia was due to be in the capital for a law conference.

She said: “I woke up and saw my mobile phone had missed calls from my mum who messaged me and said ‘You’re not going to Kyiv’.

“I looked at the news and saw what had happened and was really shocked and scared – I couldn’t believe it was true. It was the most terrible morning of my life.

“We were just waiting for the enemy to strike but thank goodness for the gods in our army and the international support, we are safe right now.

“A month ago or two months ago, we knew that there could be a possible attack but never a war. There were a lot of soldiers on the border of Russia and Ukraine and they were just standing there before the war.”

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Ukrainian soldiers walk past debris of a burning military truck on a street in Kyiv (Efrem Lukatsky/AP/PA)

Ukrainian soldiers walk past debris of a burning military truck on a street in Kyiv (Efrem Lukatsky/AP/PA)

AP/PA Images

Ukrainian soldiers walk past debris of a burning military truck on a street in Kyiv (Efrem Lukatsky/AP/PA)

Outlining what her daily life is like now, she said: “I start my day messaging all my friends and family and asking if they’re OK, and they write back and tell me if they’re alive. Asking ‘how are you?’ is very important for me now. It’s completely different – they’re simple words that have really different meanings for me as you’re asking people that are important to you.

“I call them in the morning to find out what’s happening where they are. Then I start work – so try to find medication, food and just connect with the other volunteers.

“Then I try to find clothes, equipment, things like that. I can’t study physically at university at the moment, all this has stopped. Our job is now volunteering.”

Nadiia’s immediate family have also remained at home – with her father defending the country and her mother volunteering.

Out of her class of 50 students, 12 have fled to other countries.

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