On 24 February, Russian forces invaded Ukraine as her citizens slept. Ukrainian women and children fled across the borders to safety. The men stayed behind and lined up to receive arms and basic training, thrust into voluntary military service to defend their country. As the world looked on in growing horror, Russian president, Vladimir Putin, attacked on multiple fronts, by land, sea, and air.
Russian citizens protest, at great personal risk, in more than 50 Russian cities. Increasingly, this attack is labeled as Putin’s war on Ukraine. In cities across the world, particularly in Europe and the US, protestors gather in support of the Ukrainian people. Signs and hastily-made placards demand an end to Putin’s war on Ukraine and her people. In South Africa, thousands of kilometers away, I am dumbstruck. We feel helpless, numb with horror, heartbroken. What can we, as foreigners, do to help the people of Ukraine? European governments pledge support, the German Chancellor promises a huge increase in military spending. How will this affect the lives of the Ukrainians hiding out in bomb shelters and underground parking garages today?
Leipglo received messages from Ukrainians, either in Ukraine or here in Leipzig, about the war and its impact on their lives and those of their families. Here are a few of the messages they sent us.
I’ll try to be brief, there’s a lot to say.
I left Kyiv. I’m sitting in Chernivtsi, in a safe place for now.
But, unfortunately, now you cannot feel safe anywhere. Many of my friends and relatives stayed in Kyiv. When I left, the farther I was from the city, the more painful it became for me. Tears are shed every day for everyone, and everything that is happening. I pray every day that Ukraine survives and that everyone stays alive. For me, Kyiv is a living organism, which is now being hurt very much. It is unbearable to look at.
The house that the missile hit in Kyiv is my aunt’s house. I’m glad they weren’t there. And I’m scared to think about what would have happened if they hadn’t left.
This could have been my house or the house of any other person!! What would have happened if there were people there? How can this even be allowed?
But I know for sure, I’ll be going back home! Because I really want to go home, I really do.
But people! How I love our people!
Have you seen what these heroes do? How our army protects us?
I just bow to everyone who protects us. You all are our heroes! Our president is incredibly resilient. Thank you very much for this, for fighting for Ukraine!
We are very afraid here that Putin will use nuclear weapons, that he will wipe my beloved country off the face of the earth. Because people here will never give up their freedom and their country! Here everyone will fight to the death, to complete annihilation! And now nothing in life makes sense except to protect the country and our freedom, to save people.
As my friend said, “That’s what makes life worth living”.
(Annabell, 25, Kiew)
Natalka, 26, from Lviv
I am in Lviv, trying to do everything I can to contribute to covering everyone’s needs. We appreciate all the support, material and moral, that we get from people all over the world. It seems surreal that with all the issues that appear every second, we somehow keep handling the situation. Even with the enormous number of people who were forced to run away from their homes.
But we will not tire of doing all we can. Because one cannot tire of literally trying to survive.
All because of a bastard who lacks any sign of humanity. All because the world wasn’t expecting it. It wasn’t able to recognize him as another psycho who doesn’t realize that a person’s life holds the highest possible value. That no one is allowed to deny them that or to take it away. He kills our children, our families, our army–who are at home, in their own land–with no mercy.
Because he doesn’t know what mercy is.
He sent his own people to death and doesn’t care about returning their dead bodies to their mothers. Mothers who don’t even know where their children are, or that they have been sent to commit the worst possible crime!
He wanted to be called ‘great’. As he was getting respect from the world leaders, in the media, from his surroundings, he laughed behind our backs.
It’s time to confess that we, as humanity, made the same mistake again.
We let someone trick us into playing a much too fair game with pure evil.
We keep saying (screaming!!!) that it’s only the unity of the world leaders that can stop this killer. He needed to be stopped years, months, or at least days ago. We have no more time because we are losing people’s lives every moment that the world leaders hesitate.
And that’s not a local threat. Because I bet no one can live peacefully in the same world with him after he showed his real face.
We are not simply fighting Putin. We are fighting disgusting evil. And there is nothing ‘great’ in evil. Only misery.
Hello! My name is Nikola and I come from the beautiful city of Chernivtsi, Ukraine. At the moment I live in Leipzig and am watching everything that happens from here. On February 24, at around 5 am Kyiv time, Russia invaded my country and started a war in Europe. My family is safe now, but like all Ukrainians, they have bonded together and are helping in any way they can.
The whole of western Ukraine welcomed refugees from the eastern part of the country with open arms. I’ve never experienced anything like this. The Ukrainian defense consists of its entire population at the moment, and you know, that’s much more than the Russian government thought!
Every day we Ukrainians deal with Russian tanks, missiles, soldiers, and disinformation.
People are dying, our real heroes at the front, many civilians. The worst thing is that innocent children are dying too! The Russian authorities lied; they shouted that they wouldn’t kill the innocent, that’s a lie! But you know, our troops are stronger than ever, people are more united than ever, we all feel pride and the will to be free. We are all ready to fight for Ukraine!
Слава Україні! Glory to Ukraine!