Elena Velesco is the Head of Touraine-Ukraine Association, in Tours, Loire Valley, France. In this third instalment of mini-series Portraits from the War in Ukraine, Elena describes her reaction to the war in Ukraine, the launch of Touraine-Ukraine Association the day after the war began, and the type of support they provide.

Settling into a new environment remains a key challenge for Ukrainians arriving in France. Elena describes one personal experience she had with a Ukrainian family arriving in the third week of the war: “The mother and her children were shaking all the time when they arrived, because they couldn't realise that they were safe here, that they could finally relax and try to get a bit of their lives back.”

Concluding with a message of solidarity, Elena says, “I saw another face of France, with very open and very warm people with those who are in need. [...] I would like to thank them all for this solidarity and support since the war began. I am grateful and it shows that the world is not so lost and that we must continue to do good and to simply support each other.”

Watch the portrait above, and explore the full series of portraits here.