These are the stories of the brave Ukrainian men and women whose lives were turned upside down by the Russian invasion in 2022. As reported by the BBC, you’ll meet the men who put their lives at risk and the women who have dealt with the loss of their families.
In the heart of the battle-scarred terrain stands “Jimmy,” a Ukrainian officer, a living testament to the fickle nature of war.
He reflects, “I’m a lucky man… as I see it, war can either love people or not.” Despite the odds, Jimmy continues to stand strong, an embodiment of resilience in the face of adversity.
In the wake of the Russian invasion, the Ukrainian army witnessed an influx of volunteers like “Yurii.” Driven by a sense of duty, these brave souls transitioned from civilian life to the military, much against their parent’s will.
“Yurii” claims that his mother was hesitant about him signing up at first but noted that once she saw him operating drones deep into Russian trenches, she became proud of him.
A Wage Cut to Fight the Russians
“Yurii” admitted that his current wage as a soldier is significantly less than his civilian wage, although it still amounts to $3195 a month.
The toll of casualties, maiming, and capture weigh heavy on these volunteers, leaving scars that go beyond the battlefield. It is a grim reminder of the cost of freedom.
One senior volunteer, Hyrb, admitted his family “cried silently” when he told them he was signing up to fight, “They said they would wait for me, that they loved me,” he said.
Ukrainian soldiers, like “Jimmy,” acknowledge that an easy breakthrough is impossible as they brace for a prolonged conflict, arming themselves with resilience and determination.
“Pavlo,” a soldier wounded in the line of duty, grappled with the difficult decision of returning to the front lines, with his wife claiming that “he already did his duty.”
Love and Loss
Natalia Nezhura’s story is one of love and loss.
As she lays fresh flowers on her brother Andrii’s grave, her heart is heavy with the weight of a sister’s regret, haunted by the feeling of not doing enough to keep her brother safe, “I tried everything to stop him from going to the frontline,” she said.
Natalia spoke from the heart when she admitted, “I just want all Russians dead, I hate them with all my heart and soul,” adding, “How can you talk about peace when they killed so many of our people?”
Because of these brave men, Ukraine still holds on to hope amidst Russian atrocities, and after already losing so much, who can blame them for not wanting to give up their land during peace talks?
Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Master1305