The week before Russia invaded her homeland, Ukrainian scientist Inna Melnyk had a vacation. She and her husband and their two children, who live in Košice, planned to visit Kyiv. Their relatives advised them to postpone their trip, and they did.
Days later, her friends, fellow students, acquaintances, and even acquaintances of acquaintances began pouring into eastern Slovakia in the wake of the Russian invasion – and her Slovak colleagues at the Institute of Geotechnics at the Slovak Academy of Sciences (SAV) in Košice started helping, providing housing, clothes and even pots and pans for the new arrivals.
Many colleagues, even those abroad in other countries such as Sweden, Italy and Slovenia wrote or called the scientist to offer help, which they then supplied to her colleagues from Ukraine.
"Together with my husband we met the refugees at the border, drove them to the city, helped with tickets, bought medicine for those who had stood in line at the border, as it was cold then. We also bought and delivered medicine and haemostatic agents for the army," Melnyk recalled in an interview with The Slovak Spectator.
"My husband gave the car that he had left in Ukraine to a classmate on the front line."
I.Melnyk is not the only Ukrainian at the institute, which also hosts PhD students from Ukraine. Even they helped – donating blood and buying equipment for the Ukrainian army, which they still do to this day based on requests from their friends. Melnyk's brother, who lives and works in South Africa, also buys equipment for people on the front lines. It is then up to Inna and her husband to ship it.