October 6, 2022
Family dog left in destroyed home - This apartment was eradicated by shellings in Donetsk, Ukraine.
One of the biggest stories so far of 2022 has been the Russian invasion of Ukraine which began back in February. In the middle of this invasion are the civilians of both countries. In Ukraine, two humanitarian aid workers, one who is currently in Ukraine, and another who has been there for 8 years, helping people escape Russian armies.
This, however, is not the first time that Ukraine and Russia have been involved in this kind of conflict.
In 1990, Ukraine left the Soviet Union. Afterward, 400,000 people joined hands and created a human chain in protest of being part of the Soviet Union. Ukraine has fought for its independence since.
In 2008, Vladimir Putin showed displeasure with Ukraine’s interest to join NATO. Germany and France backed Putin. He did not want Ukraine to join NATO because he still wished to rebuild the Soviet Union. In January 2009, Putin and Ukraine quarreled politically since a Russian-owned business ceased to pump gas to them.
Viktor Yanukovych, former Ukraine president (according to NPR, his election was rigged), refused to sign the free trade agreement with the European Union, claiming Putin pressured the agreement in 2013. Masses of people opposed: police and protesters clashed, leaving 100 dead in late February and leading to the impeachment of Yanukovych. The Russian President declared that the government's shift was an illegal coup, so they annexed Crimea and positioned armed men in the Crimean Peninsula in February 2014. A similar event, the invasion of Ukraine, began in March of 2022 and is still happening today.
The humanitarians have been helping refugees, or people who had to flee because of conflict, get to the Ukrainian border. They asked to remain anonymous for security reasons.
“We have helped to evacuate more than 1,000 people and find them shelter within the country or outside the country if they are able,” he said.
The people in Ukraine have been drastically affected by the attacks and invasions from Putin in the last eight years. They’ve lost everything: their home, belongings, money, jobs, family, and friends. They’ve had to flee twice because of the same war.
“People are very reluctant to leave their homes. Especially the old people. [They] never really left their hometown. To move, even to the other side of Ukraine, it’s a huge deal for them.
‘Are we still in Ukraine? Where are we? What country?’
‘No, you’re in Ukraine.’
‘Oh, we’re still in Ukraine?’
It’s a big issue. People only left their town to go to markets. Their hometown is their heritage, their birthplace. They try to bring pets with them to other bordering nations as they are being driven out.
“As a leader of a humanitarian organization, my family and I have decided to stay and continue to help people, even though the front line moves closer to us daily,” the humanitarian worker said.“My wife’s family is currently in Crimea, which is currently under Russian occupation, and my work with the Ukrainian government has caused my in-laws to undergo severe pressure.”
These people have sacrificed their lives and safety to help victims of the Russian invasion. They save food and water to give to the Ukrainian refugees as they escape all they have ever known.
“We feed a couple of thousand people every day. They sit there very quietly looking down eating their food. [They are ] very traumatized [and]very sad because of what they’ve seen and what they’ve been through themselves.”
It’s a tragic time and experience. Putin’s armies were and still are tossing the civilians’ corpses. They were once fathers, mothers, and children, and the soldiers discarded away people like they were nothing. War leaves people trembling and never the same as if something grated off what was once there. It’s a terrible thing.
Albert Einstein once said, “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything.”
Fire caused by shellings leaves belongings and rooms charred - Many apartments are left without inhabitants and waste away.
How can you help?
According to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), 27.1 million people are refugees worldwide. Around 7 million refugees have fled to Europe and 6.9 million Ukrainians are displaced within Ukraine. (They have lost their home due to the war.)
There are organizations that they work with. They aid refugees such as Ukrainians, Syrians, Afghanistan's Eatheopians, and Pakistanis: UNICEF focuses on providing children access to schools, and empowering women all around the world, HIV/AIDS, child protection, and partnerships. There are many ways you can provide help: offering money to help children all over the world, providing monthly contributions to communities, volunteer work in the U.S (student groups, young leaders, or community), or sending supplies to kids and families in need.
Doctors Without Borders (DWB) travels to countries and provides medical help to those who cannot afford it or are not available. They put past the cultural differences and help the ones suffering diseases, war wounds, etc. DWB helps 72 or more countries to assist those who need it most. DWB has been to many crucial disasters to provide for civilians and give to the community while they can. You can help by contributing money to their cause, attending one of their events, or fundraising.
Civilians murdered - Many family homes were destroyed without warning.