Oksana (45) and Yeva (18) Kokhanovska have been living in the Biberist shelter near the shooting range since April.
The war in Ukraine has been going on for almost six months. Russian President Vladimir Putin (69) has now displaced 5 million people, of whom 60,000 have taken refuge in Switzerland. For example, Oksana Kokhanovska (45) and her daughter Yeva (18) are from Sumy in north-eastern Ukraine. You have been living with six compatriots at Biberist SO in an asylum seeker’s residence since late April.
The house is in the countryside, surrounded by fields. Ideal suburban ideal – one might think. But not far from their habitat is the Zuchville Shooting Range of Solothurn hunters.
For women who have just survived the war, the utter horror: “Every time I hear shots, I’m transported back to wartime. I get scared and panicked, »Oksana Kokhanovska told Blick.
Ukrainian woman suffering from post traumatic stress disorder
Her legs tremble again, she has trouble breathing and wants to throw herself under the table or dig a hole in the basement. “Whenever there is another blast, the horrific scenes we experienced in our homeland are in front of my eyes.”
Scenes like February 24, the morning of the invasion, when tanks were poured into their city. Scene of children screaming. «We fled the war and looked for a place of refuge in Switzerland. But we reached a place that reminds us every minute of all the horrors, ”says Kokhanovska.
When physical complaints such as neurodermatitis, sleep disorders and mood swings became noticeable, Oksana Kokhanovska consulted a doctor. The diagnosis was post-traumatic stress disorder. Since then she has been taking antidepressants.
Betty Yeva also suffers from painful memories that the sound of gunfire brings back to her. “I get a panic attack every time the shots start,” Yeva Kokhanovska tells Blick. And these tortures are not uncommon. Because: “They shoot almost every day,” her mom explains. Training takes place several times a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
From a medical point of view, moving is “compulsory”.
Because of these “unacceptable” conditions, Kokhanovska repeatedly contacted the canton and regional social service BBL (Bieberist Buchegberg Lohn) and asked for a transfer – in vain.
“It was repeatedly stated that no other accommodation was available,” Kokhanovska says. And this despite the fact that the Ukrainian was able to produce a medical certificate. It added that daily shooting practice and associated noise pollution “significantly exacerbated” the woman’s existing symptoms. And: “From a medical point of view, going to a quiet place of residence is an absolute must,” says Blick, who has a medical certificate.
Biberist mayor Stephen Hugh-Portman (56) is aware of the matter. The housing situation of the Ukrainian and her daughter has been investigated, but so far no one has been able to give a hand: “All asylum housing or private places in the Biberist region are currently fully booked. That’s why it’s not currently possible to move people,” says Hugh-Portman Blick.
“We’ve never had a problem with this accommodation”
The mayor is baffled at the complaint: “We’ve been using this asylum housing for war refugees from various countries, including Syria, Afghanistan and Iran, for years, and we’ve never had a problem.” It was clear that you could hear the shots, but he couldn’t imagine it would be that loud.
It is completely improbable that women can be placed anywhere else, it is not. “Of course, we take women’s complaints seriously and will transfer them if it’s medically necessary.” When he was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, Hugh-Portman immediately pricked his ears, he says. “So we will offer Ms. Kokhanovska that she can go to a psychiatrist who speaks her language.”