April 1, 2022
Ukrainians are showing the world their resilience, staying strong under Russian President Vladimir Putin’s savage attempts to dismantle their democracy.
Russia’s large-scale military invasion, which began on Feb. 24, comes as a result of Putin’s imperialism, paranoia and reliance on propaganda to influence the Russian citizenry.
His delusions manifest themselves in his belief that Ukraine still belongs to Russia and his inability to accept that it has been an independent nation since 1991. He has also tried to justify Russia’s invasion by saying that his efforts are to “denazify” the country, even though this claim is false.
It has yet to be determined whether this is the start of World War III, but history has made it clear that what people should not do is remain silent.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has vowed to stay in Ukraine and fight with his people, who are making unmatched sacrifices for their country.
Russian journalist Marina Ovsyannikova was fined $280 for interrupting a live broadcast by holding up a sign that read, “Don’t believe the propaganda. They’re lying to you here.” She is now facing 3-15 years in prison.
Putin’s attacks are growing more brutal as he becomes increasingly frustrated by his military’s slow progress. On March 9, Russian forces bombed a children’s hospital and maternity ward in Mariupol, Ukraine. This violent attack wounded 17 people and left children and others trapped under the building’s rubble.
On March 16, a Russian aircraft fired at a Ukrainian theater in Mariupol that held more than 1,000 civilians. Written in large white letters in front of and behind the theater was the Russian word for “children,” making it clear to Russian forces that civilians, including children, were being held inside. This attack resulted in the death of about 300 people.
Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, has also been devastated by Russian attacks. Among the dead was 96-year-old Boris Romanchenko, a Holocaust survivor who was killed when a missile hit his apartment.
In this time of incredible darkness, it is at least comforting to see people around the world coming together to aid Ukrainians in their efforts to survive and preserve their independence.
Companies including Amazon, Google, McDonald’s, Netflix and Starbucks have done their part as well by suspending business in Russia. As of right now, Russia is almost completely cut off from the rest of the world. The ruble, Russia’s currency, is now worth less than one U.S. penny.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that as a result of Russia’s invasion, approximately 10 million people have fled their homes.
None of this has halted Putin’s mission, but, thankfully, Ukraine has received billions of dollars in humanitarian aid as well as military succor and money from the United States and other countries including Canada, Germany, Portugal and the United Kingdom.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reports that as a result of Russia’s invasion, approximately 10 million people have fled their homes. About 3.7 million people have left for neighboring countries, and an estimated 6.5 million people are believed to be displaced within Ukraine.
The people of Ukraine are distraught and terrified, especially as men between the ages of 18-60 are being forced to stay behind to fight against the Russian military.
Women, children and the elderly are heroically taking their pets with them as they seek refuge. In fact, so many pets have been brought on the journey that veterinary services are now being offered at border crossings. One woman, Alisa Tepituk, carried her large German Shepherd on her shoulders for 10 miles. She asked passing cars for assistance, but they were already overwhelmed. Numerous people told her to leave her dog behind, but Tepituk refused.
Regrettably, there are still countless animals that have been abandoned. Along with domestic pets being left behind, zoo animals are suffering. Kyiv Zoo in Ukraine is actively working to find and rescue stranded animals. The zoo has asked for international help, as most of the employees are absent.
In an effort to support the animals of Ukraine, LHS’ Animal Welfare Club is looking to organize a fundraiser or donation drive that would go towards assisting pets or zoo animals affected by the war.
The History and Computer Clubs held a collection last month to support the Ukrainian refugees. About 1,000 items were packaged and donated to the Ukrainian Orthodox Holy Ascension Cathedral in Clifton to be sent to aid Ukrainian refugees. Additionally, LHS’ faculty and staff raised $665 by participating in two dress-down days.
The Lyndhurst Police Department has also gotten involved in the efforts to help Ukraine. It collected and hand-delivered the donations it received to Baranova 27, a Fort Lee-based charity organization.
This gut-wrenching situation serves as a reminder that so many people are suffering in unimaginable ways. Hopefully, assistance from the United States and other countries can create a softer landing for the Ukrainian people who deserve the world’s full support in these trying times.