Michael K.Lavers Washington Russia Poland Germany city Berlin Ukraine Refugees man country Gay War Citi Michael K.Lavers Washington Russia Poland Germany city Berlin Ukraine

Gay Ukrainian man struggles to rebuild life in Berlin

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Editor’s note: International News Editor Michael K. Lavers was on assignment in Berlin from April 12-15. BERLIN — A gay Ukrainian man with HIV who fled his war-torn country more than two years ago remains in Berlin.

Dmitry Shapoval first spoke with the Washington Blade in July 2022. He was working at an IT company’s call center and studying web and UX design in Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, when Russia launched its war against his country on Feb.

24, 2022. Shapoval less than a month later swam across a river with his cat Peach and entered Poland. He arrived in the German capital on March 19, 2022. “I feel very secure here,” said Shapoval when he first spoke with the Blade on July 22, 2022, during a reception that took place at the end of a two-day meeting with European activists the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration organized.

Shapoval again spoke with the Blade on April 15 while he was at ORAM’s offices near Berlin’s Potsdamer Platz. He said he was sleeping on a mattress on the kitchen floor of a Ukrainian friend’s apartment in Berlin’s Wedding neighborhood, while looking for a more permanent place to live.

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