Stay With Ukraine

February 23, 2023

tank with Ukrainian flag

Image Credit: Taras Gren, CC By-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Kara Anderson ’25

Armed conflict between Russia and Ukraine began in 2014 but on February 24, 2022, Russia announced its full-scale invastion. This invasion continues a year later, and there is still no clear ending in sight. The people of Ukraine are fighting everyday to protect their home. And while their strength and bravery are admirable this is not a battle they should have to fight alone. We must stay with Ukraine – every one of us.

The Ukranian people have been forced to endure massive human rights violations as Russia commits war crimes and crimes against humanity. These crimes have been carefully documented and proven by organizations such as Human Rights Watch, and the United Nations has established an independent International Commission of Inquiry on Ukraine that has detailed these as well.

War crimes and crimes against humanity include several internationally prohibited behaviors. Those documented in Ukraine include indiscriminate attacks resulting in the destruction of civilian intrastruction such as schools, churches, and hospitals as well as high civilian casualties. Since February 24th, 2022 there have been a recorded more than 7,000 civilians killed and 11,000 injured. Other crimes present in Ukraine include executions, unlawful confinement, inhumane treatment, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence.

These crimes violate many essential human rights including the right to life, the right to be free from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading teatment or punishment, the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to health, the right to safety and security, and the right to education.

Yet the people of Ukraine have stood tall in the face of these violations. Some may say that they have had no choice but to. In the words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, “If there is no Uktrainian strong army, there will be no Ukraine.” Ukrainians did not want this war, but they will fight to protect their loved ones. Their strength, unity, and determination have become a common theme.

Yevhen P, a civic activist in Odesa, said, “The Russian Army is shooting everywhere, including hospitals, ordinary households, kindergartens, and other civilian infrastructure. In Odesa, they are using their ships and trying to land their amphibious assault. At the same time, I see a tremendous social mobilization and growth of activism. I see that everybody is trying to be helpful and produce as much help as they can. Our army is fighting very bravely, and everybody is trying to help the country’s defense.”

Lyudmyla S, an English teacher in Bucha, shared, “You all see how brave our army is. And I am absolutely sure we can fight the Russians back. So many people are united, as we must save our children for the future.” 

Semen Kabakaev, an adviser to the commander in chief of the armed forces of Ukraine, stated, “I feel proud and I defend my country. I am worried about the safety of my family. We don’t let the enemy’s plan succeed. We fight very hard for this not to happen. If Ukraine falls, everybody will fall.”

Liliya Marynchak, an assistant professor of finance, recalled, “From my window, I saw dark clouds, the explosion and sirens. I couldn’t actually understand what was going on until [I watched] the local news. You don’t know where to go, where to run, who to call. I can’t even imagine that in 2022, this may happen in the center of Europe. I was so proud of our civil men, old and young, who go and try to help. Civilian volunteers, and those who are willing to stand and fight.”

A PR Manager from Kyiv stated, “I’m feeling proud of our Armed Forces and all of those people who support them. […] Ukrainian forces are fighting back.”

Still, Ukrainians need our help. Yan K, a 21 year old university student from Odesa, said, “Now we are proud of our city, our country, our army, people and president,” but, “Our people are dying – Russian troops are striking civilian objects with missiles. […] We need more sanctions, more weapons, more money. Stay with Ukraine. We won’t fall. Russia’s aggression will be stopped.”

The Ukrainian people are strong, but every day there are more casualties. Now is not the time to forget about the war. So push your representatives to continue sending support to the Ukrainian people. Write letters, call, have meetings– apply pressure and spread the word. Stay with Ukraine.

Kara AndersonKara Anderson ’25 is a sophomore political science major and English minor, pursing an experiential learning certificate in human rights. At Albion, Kara is a part of the Prentiss M. Brown Honors Program and the Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service. She is the Chief of Staff of the Albion Student Senate, the Secretary of the Phi Alpha Delta Pre-Law Fraternity and is a member of Concert Choir. Kara is passionate about human rights and aspires to be a human rights lawyer.

The views expressed in this blog belong to the author alone and do not necessarily represent the views of Albion College.