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Bagnols: Adrian Kovalenko, the commitment of Ukrainian youth

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The 17-year-old high school student arrived alone in France in 2019. Since the start of the war, he has made it his mission to help refugees from his country of origin.

For several days, Adrian, a high school student of Ukrainian origin, has been going to meetings after his school days at Albert-Einstein high school. At 17, the young man speaks seven languages ​​perfectly. He decided to put his knowledge to work helping Ukrainian refugees.

Adrian translates documents for the town hall and the agglomeration in order to help with the reception of refugees, organizes a collection for his country of origin and has also volunteered to accompany possible future Ukrainian middle and high school students in their integration.

He left Ukraine in 2019

Adrian left his home country for France 2019, without family. “War, we know what it is in my country”, says the young man. His great-grandfather and grandfather died during the First and Second World Wars. In 2014, his uncle, who took care of him since the death of his parents, lost his life during the Maidan revolution in kyiv. The boy will then be on his own.

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In 2019, the young man meets a football recruiter who believes in him. It is thanks to sport that the high school student begins his new life in France. First staying with a host family, Adrian has been living for several months in Carsan with “his godfather and his godmother”, who is none other than his former English teacher. “Before the war, I was finally starting to taste a normal, simple life, with more or less a family” says the high school student.

Brother peoples

In the early days of the war, Adrian wanted to go and fight for his country. It was his godfather and godmother who dissuaded him. “But they said to me: ‘You’re smart enough to leave without anyone noticing.’ They were afraid that I would leave anyway.”

The young man was ready to defend his country, as is the case with many young Ukrainians, “our generation, we grew up with this atmosphere of fear of aggression. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for Ukraine”. On the fifth day of the war, Adrian lost his best friend, Mykola, “He was 17, he had joined the national police like his dad who also died in 2014”. His friend Mykola was shot five times in the chest defending two women and children in kyiv.

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The high school student had grown up with him in a Russian-speaking region in the east of the country, “The Russian people remain and will always remain our brother people, Putin opposes two countries that were brothers for a long time.”

True to his country of origin, Adrian continues, from Carsan, to help Ukraine “as much as possible”.

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