‘Ukraine Deserves Its Own Future.’ The Pain of Watching From Afar as Putin Attacks My Country
At 4 AM, I woke up to hear my parents screaming. My family from Kyiv called me to inform me that Russia was attacking Ukraine. I sat down on my bed, grabbed my smartphone and opened Twitter.
I’ve worked in social media for years, but I never thought that social media would become my last lifeline to what was happening back at home and my only option for making myself useful. My parents were normally living in Kyiv and flew three weeks earlier to London, where they were able to be with me. My father had told me two days earlier that he believed the family should move to Ukraine. My uncle said that my grandmother, their mother was in bed and could not leave. My uncle also said that an attack on Ukraine’s capital is impossible. For some reason, many of us Ukrainians felt that we were safe—that things like this would never happen to us, that full-scale war across the whole of Ukraine was unimaginable.
Continue reading: Russian Assaults on Ukraine Poses Huge Dangers to the Rest of Europe, and the World
Today was a beautiful day in London. I sat on the sofa with my parents, watching the news and shaking my head at the unbelievable. Explosions occurred in Kyiv. This is the place where I was born. Explosions in Kharkiv (the former capital of Ukraine), 6 hours away from my home. Russia attacksLocated on various military bases throughout the country. People Moving into bomb shelters. Tanks start to rollFrom Belarus President Zelensky Declaring martial lawUkraine. I was contacted by a friend from Kyiv. She had just packed an emergency bag, taken her passport, and was waiting for the air raid sirens outside her home. She is now at home, exhausted and ready to go to bed, but she’s also alert and prepared to move at any time. An anonymous friend shared a picture of her in an underground bunker. It is where she and her family are still tonight. They are both safe and well-stocked with essential supplies. My grandmother and uncle also have access to the internet, which allows them to communicate every hour.
As I was watching these events unfold today, one thought occurred to me: Putin must be so hateful of people. UkraineTo Attack during the night while everyone is asleep peacefully.
This is more than a battle of the missiles, bombs, and troops on ground. It’s also one of stories. On Monday, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave a speech utterly rewriting history—denying that Ukraine ever had real statehood or was its own nation. Just a few days later, Putin used this narrative to forever change our lives.
I’ve studied how throughout history, stories like the one Putin told on Monday have been used to start wars. Putin’s message is not less than imperialism. He wants to take over a country in need of a better future and make it his empire.
Continue reading: ‘We Will Defend Ourselves.’ Photographs of Ukraine Under Attack
It’s extraordinarily painful to watch my whole country suffer from afar. Today, it was overwhelming to feel helpless, powerless, and guilt over how fortunate I am that my parents are not in danger. I am able to try, unlike my family members who have packed emergency bags and are trying to shelter. Use my wordsI’ve tried to use my knowledge and skills to combat the false narrative that Putin has spread. I’ve tried to use my social mediaTo share reliable sourcesTo obtain more information Center the Ukrainians’ experiencesTo, and Call out the liesPutin spreads these beliefs about me.
Ukraine has a right to its future. It is my desire for my people to work together. We are the storyWe will not be forced to do so by anyone. Ukraine is a country with its own history and culture. It has its own people. Ukraine has its own voice. Its own voice. We have to continue using it.