Ukraine, Natalia on the run with a cat and Irina with her son. The stories of the guests of the new refugee center in Milan

In via Stella, 30 people are already welcomed, all are women with children who have fled from war zones

There is also a cat in the center for Ukrainian refugees opened in recent days by the Municipality of Milan and the Progetto Arca Foundation in via Stella. His name is Giorgio and he comes from Mykolaiv, the city in southern Ukraine, which has been relentlessly attacked for weeks by the Russian army. “They bomb every day. The attacks follow one another, even just three hours apart from each other,” says Natalia, Giorgio’s mistress, squeezing him tightly in her arms.

“He is 8 years old and the son of a stray cat that we found on the street and then lived with us for 13 years before dying,” he says. When the war started on February 24, she immediately ran away from her daughter in Odessa and she had no doubt about taking Giorgio with her: “In Mykolaiv there are so many bombings, that I would never have left him there”. From Odessa Natalia, with her daughter and mother, took refuge in Moldova. Three days ago she arrived in the center of via Stella, in Milan, where thirty of the fifty available places are already occupied by women and children fleeing the war.

Among them are Irina, 28, and her 7-year-old boy with autism. They come from Slavutych, a city between Kiev and Chernihiv, near Chernobyl. “We have been in Italy for about two weeks, before we were in Poland. Here we were very well received, certainly it is better to live where there is peace and serenity than under the bombs”, he says, adding that “but the first days As soon as the planes passed, memories would surface and we were afraid. We knew we were in Italy, but that is an unconscious terror. Now, however, everything is fine, we are fine “. The thought is for the loved ones left in Ukraine: Irina’s mother, who lives in Chernihiv, and the father of her son, who suffers from cancer, who cannot leave the country due to martial law, but has managed “to move to a safer place to continue treatment “.