Chia’s Quick Post From Ukraine (During Russian Invasion)

Hey there everyone,

Just a quick post to discuss some stuff in Ukraine right now. I had originally planned to document all the events of my trip here and write about them when I get back to the States, but the latest news is just too much to hold in.

First impressions when I was here this time around was “man, EVERYTHING on the news is about the war in the eastern Ukraine”. News of the events here in Ukraine is mostly ignored in the US and I’m forced to find alternate news sources to see what’s going on over here. I knew about the war, I knew people were getting killed, I knew Russia was behind this, and I had some inside news from my Ukrainian friends that it was a mess. What I was NOT ready for was to have all this in my face and see the reality of it all. It’s real. This war in Ukraine is very real. The news you see in the US is crap and not even 10% of the reality of the situation here.

Most Ukrainians that give two hoots about their country (which is a good majority of them. There are MANY more Ukrainian flags flying from apartments and cars than there were my first trip here) are quite pissed at their government and the rest of the world’s governments because nobody is doing anything about Russia’s aggression and the young men of Ukraine who are dying to protect their country. Novograd-Volynski is a military town and they’re already seeing their fair share of deaths and young men being sent off to war. This is very real and daily reminders of it occur here.

Yesterday while walking around in Kyiv we had a street vendor take a picture of Larisa and I. While the pictures were printing he was talking about how there were a few thousand Russian troops now INSIDE Ukrainian border. Of course that was a concern…but we didn’t hear too much else about it (however we were busy traveling by bus from Kyiv to Novograd-Volynski so it doesn’t surprise me that we didn’t hear too much). This morning I went over to Larisa’s as we were going to go shopping for meat for her mother’s birthday cookout. On the news it was officially declared that the Russians had invaded Ukraine. As if that news wasn’t bad enough, they have Ukrainian soldiers on TV talking about how they are protecting the country yet the government isn’t protecting them. He’s talking about how they all know they are going to die. He says bye to his sons on TV and that he’ll “be home soon”.

Heartbreaking. Extremely shitty. I’m still in a bit of shock, anger, depression, and twelve other not-so-great emotions as we try to process this mess.

For those that know me, I am safe. I have great friends here and should anything bad come to this part of the country I believe I am in good hands and we will head to safety. Don’t worry about me. Worry…and pray…for Ukraine.