It’s been one year since Russia invaded Ukraine, and officials say more than 8 million Ukrainians have fled the country, and thousands have been killed in the fighting.
According to USA Today, neither Russian leader Vladimir Putin nor Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has indicated they are ready to begin peace talks, possibly extending the yearlong violence and upheaval.
“Animosity between Russia and Ukraine could sustain this conflict for a long time,” says Samuel Charap, a senior political scientist at the Rand Corp.
The conflict started in February 2022 when Russia launched attacks across Ukraine, but over the year since it began, both sides have seen victories and defeats.
In June 2022, while Russian forces continued to capture Ukrainian cities, the European Union invited Ukraine to become a candidate for membership, the Associated Press reports.
In October, Russia began a deadly drone strike while Ukrainian forces tried to recapture lost strongholds.
For Ukrainians, the invasion has caused citizens to find a “new normal,” with those who have chosen or had no choice but to stay being forced to live a life amid the war.
“Unfortunately, going to our school’s bomb shelter is not something unusual for our kids,” Lyudmyla Tabolina, an elementary school principal, told USA Today. “They are used to it now. Once they hear the air raid sirens, they know they have about two minutes to get there. It can be two times a week. Sometimes it’s five times a day. Sometimes we stay in the shelter for five or six hours. Sometimes it’s just 15 minutes.
“Children understand a lot more about the world than we give them credit for. They grow up very quickly. The war has become part of their education.”
For others who chose to flee the country, life has become about settling into a new home.
“Even now, I am afraid,” a woman from Kherson, Ukraine, told an Associated Press reporter. She had found refugee status in Warsaw.
According to the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, 90 percent of the Ukrainians who have fled are women, children and the elderly.
“There is no future (in Ukraine),” said Anastasia Lasna, a Ukrainian refugee in Krakow.
Another refugee, Serhii Chubenko, who fled with his family to the U.S., said he is grateful for the support he’s found in the U.S.
“I really hope that war ends in 2023,” he said. “Everybody expected that it wouldn’t start, and once it started, we all expected it to end in half a year, a year.”
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Roman Pilipey/Stringer
Amanda Casanova is a writer living in Dallas, Texas. She has covered news for ChristianHeadlines.com since 2014. She has also contributed to The Houston Chronicle, U.S. News and World Report and IBelieve.com. She blogs at The Migraine Runner.