BERLIN — Dmitry Shapoval is a 24-year-old gay man from Ukraine who lives with HIV. He was working at an IT company’s call center and studying web and UX design in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, in February when Russia launched its war against his country.
Shapoval swam across a river and entered Poland less than a month later. Shapoval now lives in Berlin with his cat Peach and has begun the process of resettling in Germany. “I feel very secure here,” Shapoval told the Washington Blade on July 22 during an interview at Berlin’s Palais Populaire on the city’s Unter den Linden boulevard.
Shapoval is one of the more than 900,000 Ukrainians who have arrived in Germany since the war began. Ukrainians are able to enter Germany without a visa, and the German government provides those who have registered for residency a “basic income” that helps them pay for housing and other basic needs that include food.
Ukrainian refugees can also receive access to German language classes, job training programs, and childcare. Anastasiia Baraniuk and her partner, Yulia Mulyukina, were living together in Dnipro, a city on the Dnieper River in central Ukraine, when the war began.