Attacks on Ukraine bring both fear and nations together


Ananya Pinnamaneni

The tense situation between Russia and the Ukraine worries both inside the country and out.

*Name changed to keep interviewee safe

On Feb. 24, 2022, Russia launched an invasive attack on Ukraine in an effort to seek control over Ukraine and to prevent them from joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). As a result, the war has caused many complicated feelings among Ukrainian citizens who strive to defend their home, while explosions can be heard in the air and the smell of smoke clouds Ukrainian capital Kyiv. As of March 22, more than 900 civilians have been killed, while thousands remain wounded, according to a report by the United Nations (UN).

Although the large scale effect of the war has been extremely destructive, it has also altered the progression of day-to-day life for individuals. 

For Lisa*, a Ukrainian college student, daily life has become more isolated. “Personally for me, the war means ending face to face studying and communicating for some time.” they said. “ I can no longer meet my classmates and go for a walk somewhere in the park in Chernihiv.” 

Their futures are halted due to the unpredictability of this situation. 

“I don’t have a clue about my future studying at the university. This summer, I should have passed the exam and entered the university, but our government is going to cancel this exam. So the question of entering leaves unsolved,” they said. 

Despite all the danger, they chose to look beyond the negatives. In order to preserve their mental health, they continue to practice regular activities from before the war. 

“I don’t want to get stuck believing that everything is terrible,” they said. “That’s why I do everyday things. I have resumed my preparation for exams, read a book and met with my friend on Zoom. These activities distract me and make me focus on things I love.”

Lisa encourages those from other countries to raise awareness about the issue and support Ukranians by standing behind them.  

“For me, it’s still awful to hear about fatalities among the civil and military,” Lisa said. “No one deserves to die in that unjust and bloody war.”

The media’s main focus, of course, is on those who are most directly affected by it, yet there are still people who are affected by the war from across the globe. The war not only affected those in Ukraine, but it also sparked initiatives by those in our local community.

Anna King, a seventh grader at Los Cerros Middle School, previously wrote a letter regarding the current situation, which was shared by the principal to the parents of students at LCMS. In the letter, King addresses why it’s not acceptable for people to trivialize Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and different donation websites that people can use to help Ukrainians. 

“I had people at school making jokes about it,” King said. “So I thought, ‘Okay maybe if I write something about it, they’ll read it and see it and know it’s not something to laugh about.”

King also emphasized how personally important it was to write the letter — not only because the situation itself was unethical, but also because her loved ones were impacted by the chaos, such as her grandparents who are Russians living in Ukraine. 

“They’re invading people in Ukraine, and people that were born in Russia who live in Ukraine. I just don’t think it’s right. I just wanted to stop it because it’s really scary for [everyone living in Ukraine],” King said. “They’re just destroying our country.”

However, rather than letting Ukraine fight by themselves, the world is coming together in order to fight against this tolling war, and to stand aside Ukraine.

“I am surprised at how united our nation has become. A lot of people help each other. We managed to raise a huge amount of money for supporting our Army.” Lisa said. They also spoke about an increasing respect for Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky; They remarked their admiration for people from Western Ukraine who are also offering shelter to refugees. 

International support has also been massive. People of different nationalities and countries stand with Ukraine no matter the distance between them and the country. “All Ukrainians express gratitude for all countries which send us humanitarian aid and military equipment.” Lisa mentioned. The United States government and European Union has also placed massive pressure on Russia by imposing tough sanctions and blocking Russian banks. 

To support those who are having to face the dangerous situations in Ukraine, many people around the world have been donating to certain organizations that help to collect clothes and toys as well as donations to raise money, while also raising awareness about the conflict. These organizations both directly and indirectly provide aid to the anxious people of Ukraine. 

“The Ukrainians, they’re really scared right now,” King said. “And many of them are severely suffering because more civilians are getting killed than soldiers, which is like showing that the Russians are actually killing the civilians when they shouldn’t be. ”

Mr. Liddle, an Advanced Placement World History and regular World History teacher at Dougherty Valley High School, lived in Germany, and visited Ukraine often. 

“I stayed in the city of Kyiv and I made some friends who have now left because of the fighting,” said Liddle. “So I guess to be fair, though, one of them was planning to leave anyway, but they hurried up because of the fighting.”

He spoke about how his friends were forced to leave the city and explained that the situation is inciting fear in many residents. 

Liddle also expressed how interesting it was that Ukraine and Russia went to war, because when he was in high school, the people at his school used to think of Putin as a “cool dictator who didn’t do things that were reckless.” He now believes that the war isn’t going well for Russia since their economy is collapsing. On the other hand, he is concerned for Ukraine: if the Russians don’t cease fire, then the city of Kyiv and Lviv may collapse under the weakening defenders.

Additionally, Liddle held a live Twitch stream on his personal World History Twitch channel on March 12, 2022 to talk about the different charities and ways for people outside of Ukraine to donate and help those in Ukraine, listing different places where people can help.

“AirBnB is doing something, I did Unite Help Ukraine after I did some research on them to make sure they were a legit organization,” he said. “The Red Cross is always a good bet, but you just really need to do the research on them.”

Liddle warned people about fake charities and charities that might be “using their money to purchase military weapons for the Defense of Ukraine, which if that’s what you want to do, that’s great.” Liddle said.  “But if you really just want to give humanitarian aid, then just make sure that the [charity] you’re choosing is working with humanitarian aid.” Liddle further explained that he’s seen a few that don’t explicitly give humanitarian aid, so one must be cautious while donating. 

Global consequences have still not fully come to light, but the war has left an impact on everyone in the world. Liddle explained that “Long term, anywhere that Russia had some influence there, they’re going to lose it.” Liddle also explained that Russia’s influence will wane because they have shown what they are willing to do and how far they are willing to take it.

“I don’t think this will be the end of Putin. Even if the average Russians are not very happy with him and a lot of them are not, they don’t really have any way to express their dissatisfaction, apart from some protests, which will get them thrown in jail.” Liddle said.