First Person View of Russia’s Attack on Ukrainians’ Lives and Country

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(Courtesy of Sasha Levin)
Sasha Levin, from Ukraine, writes about living in a war zone.

    It has been more than 110 days since Ukraine faced a new reality – the one with constant fear, endless air raid alerts and emotional swing. We are paying a huge price for the right to celebrate our culture, appreciate our values and lifestyle.
    It is incredibly difficult to keep mental stability for such a long time, but humans are naturally adaptable.
    Despite life in Ukraine is currently far from normal, people are getting used to the conditions so cafes, restaurants, beauty bars and shopping malls are re-opening in areas where battles no longer take place.
    For instance, my hometown Chernihiv, which is located only 43 miles from the Belorussian border, is now bursting with people who have returned to the City and urban routine seems to be covering all visual consequences of recent bombarding.
    Those who live in liberated regions are trying to forget the suffering brought by the Russians, but mass graves always remind people of what was happening there just a few months ago.
    At the same time, about 20% of Ukrainian land is still under occupation. These are Southern and Eastern territories, including such big cities as Kherson and Mariupol. The latter, according to the local Mayor Vadim Boichenko, is already facing an epidemic of cholera.
    Donbas, which has now become the main battlefield, has turned into a bloody cauldron, where neither army is able to drastically change the situation to its benefit. Russians are slowly advancing deep through the country from the East and, considering what forces and means are currently available to each side, most analytics are predicting that this process is going to continue in the near future.
    Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the President’s Office, implied the artillery ratio in certain areas is approximately 10 to 1 in favor of the Russians. Indeed, Ukraine feels a severe lack in heavy weapons.
    Despite constant speculations and promises, certain countries are trying to avoid or minimize direct military aid. Of course, this fact is demoralizing for Ukrainian society, and people doubt whether our allies are indeed willing to help us end this war.
    According to the Ukrainian Ambassador to Germany Andriy Melnyk, FRG has increased its imports from Russia by almost 60% since the invasion started.
    People are afraid that the world will steadily forget about the war, and Ukraine will be left alone in this unjust fight against Putin and his regime. 
    Nevertheless, we believe that isolationist views will not prevail in Western society, and we will obtain enough equipment to defeat the monstrous machine that is trying to ruin our country.
    Unfortunately, the diplomatic solution no longer seems to be possible. High-ranking Russian officials are constantly stating the aim of this war – which they call a “special military operation” – is to completely destroy Ukraine and eventually occupy it.
    For example, Dmitriy Medvedev, a former president and prime minister of Russia, has recently posted the following text in his Telegram account, “I saw a message that Ukraine, under land-lease, wants to recieve LNG (liquefied natural gas – ed.) from its overseas owners with payment for delivery in two years. Otherwise, it will simply freeze in the coming winter.”
    My question is … “Who says that in two years Ukraine will even exist on the map?”
    People around the world are tired of the war. People in Ukraine are excausted too, but they have no other choice but to defend their homes. Time will pass, we will win and the civilized world will say a sacred phrase – “never again.”
    Please pray for Ukraine. Stand with Ukraine.

Sasha Levin can be reached at sashalevinchernigov@gmail.com.

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