Ukraine Needs Help to Win: The Latvian National Federation in Canada calls on fellow countrymen to continue supporting Ukraine

Earlier this year in March, Latvians in Ottawa, together with the Ukrainian community, organized a fundraising event called Solidarity Through Song and Dance. All the funds collected were directed to three Ukrainian charity organizations, one of which is Save Ukraine.

War is devastating, and we have almost grown accustomed to the daily horrors reported in the news, where human lives are reduced to numbers. So many people killed yesterday by bombs dropped by Russia in various cities. Another school destroyed, another library burned down.

We have slowly come to understand the devastation brought by the Russians and have found ways to help, continuously seeking the most effective means of assistance.

Among other tasks that evening (Solidarity Through Song and Dance) I helped with drinks at the bar, where I met Oksana, who had moved from Kyiv to Ottawa and was doing everything possible to help her beloved Ukraine.

Ukrainian Children Disappearing in Russia.

After this charity event, I met Oksana again, arranging a time to talk so she could tell me more about Save Ukraine, an organization also involved in the return of children stolen by Russia.

I didn’t know much about this topic, so I decided to share with the Latvian community how alarming the stories behind each number in Ukraine are.

According to official data, Russian services have kidnapped 19,500 children (!!!). As Oksana explained, the true number is difficult to measure because what happens in the occupied territories is not clearly known, and the Russians do not disclose numbers. According to unofficial data and assumptions about what is happening in Russian occupied territories, the total count may be much higher, with estimates as high as 700,000 stolen children. Unfathomable. The knowledge of the horrors that our grandparents experienced during the Second World War helps those of us who grew up during a time of peace grasp the reality, that something like what is happening now is even possible.

Oksana told me some examples of how children were and still are being abducted. First, the parents are killed, and the children are taken to filtration camps. Second, all the children are taken from orphanages and sent to filtration camps. Third, at the beginning of the war, Russian soldiers, upon arriving occupied territories, offered parents to take their children to safety in summer camps until the conflict ended. Parents who survived have not seen their children again. Many such examples can be listed, but even for us, who grew up in peacetime, it is clear that this is reminiscent of what was heard during the Second World War. All of these cases are blatant violations of human rights.

A logical question arises: what happens in filtration camps? From everything known so far, I think everyone has the thought that they don’t even want to hear about it. However, those who end up in these camps have no choice. Ukrainian documents are confiscated and replaced with Russian ones. Males (boys) over the age of 12 are sent to re-education camps, where they are taught how bad Ukraine is and how good Russia is, only to later be given weapons and sent back to the front lines to fight for Russia. Here we are again in the Second World War, where we can cite what happened in Latvia and all those countries that had front lines crossing their territory.

Despite the many conventions and rules adopted after the First and Second World Wars on how to behave if war breaks out, Russia demonstrates a blatant disregard for international norms, reminding us again that the war tribunal must start as soon as possible.

Those children lucky enough not to be sent to the Russian front lines are offered for adoption with different names and Russian documents, making it quite difficult, if not impossible, to find them.

By donating funds to Save Ukraine,we have helped (at least a little) this organization recover 356 children (as or June 4, 2024). This organization has helped evacuate 108,000 Ukrainian families with children, delivered more than 60 vehicles with aid materials, maintains six aid centers, each with a capacity of 520 people, and 15 educational centers, each with a capacity of 400 children. The aid centers provide shelter for families with children up to 3 months old and orphans up to 6 months old, trying to return these war-affected people to some semblance of life. All this while the war continues around them.

If you also want to help recover Ukrainian children donate at

In Ottawa, they commemorate the slain children and meet with

the Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

On June 3, a memorial event for Ukrainian children affected by the war was held in front of the parliament in Ottawa. The youngest known girl killed in an airstrike was just 2 weeks old. A stark reminder: not everyone has the chance to live in peace, and it is our duty to support, donate, and do everything possible to help Ukraine. Aija Auziņa, the representative of the Public Affairs of LNAK in Ottawa, participated in the support event, providing support to the Ukrainian community on site.

Aija says that the organizers of the event read out the names and ages of 551 slain Ukrainian children. After that, there was a moment of silence, and then they started reading the names again. The event lasted four hours. The event lasted four hours.

On June 4, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Oleksandra Matviichuk from Ukraine, who heads the Ukrainian human rights organization “Center for Civil Liberties,” visited Ottawa. Nobel Peace Prize laureates represent civil society in their countries.

“They have made great efforts to document war crimes, human rights violations, and abuses of power. Together, they affirm the importance of civil society in safeguarding peace and democracy,” said the Norwegian Nobel Committee (source:

Oleksandra Matviichuk participated in a panel discussion with Canada’s federal minister Arif Virani (Parkdale—High Park, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada). The topic: Investigating Russian War Crimes.

In her speech, Oleksandra Matviichuk emphasized the need for a war tribunal to prosecute Russia and that funding for Ukraine is necessary not just to avoid losing the war but to win it. If you want to help Ukraine, give money for weapons, because the law is not working, so there is no other option—Ukraine must fight. Help recover the abducted children. She noted that Canada is very helpful in collecting evidence of war crimes, which will assist in the war tribunal by providing fact-based and evidence-supported cases.

The Latvian community in Canada was represented at this event by Jānis Lielāmers, head of the LNAK Public Affairs portfolio.

In conclusion, I want to encourage continuing to support Ukraine by participating in Ukrainian-organized events, donating money whenever possible, and organizing even small fundraising events, dinners with friends, or anything that comes easily to you. Rīkojiet kaut nelielus ziedojumu vākšanas pasākumus, vakariņas ar draugiem, jebko, kas jums padodas viegli.

Jānis Lielāmers,