Today is the one-year anniversary of Russia’s brutal, unprovoked, full-scale invasion of Ukraine. To mark the occasion, Kyiv Post has collected 17 stories to try and convey the breadth and scale of the loss caused to Ukrainians caused by the Kremlin’s aggression.


Olena Rimskaa, Odesa. 


The war deprived me of spiritual intimacy with my mother and some friends. The war has filled my soul with an immense anger that eats me up from within. A year of tears, evidence, screams and endless quarrels with my mother.


I didn’t believe there was going to be a war, but it started… The first month was filled with feelings of fear. It always seemed as if this horror would stop very soon, but it didn’t. Gradually, awareness of the situation and acceptance began to come. To some extent, this can be called calmness. 



But after the first wave of mass panic and fear passed, I began to notice that not all my relatives shared the same worldview as me. Then it seemed to me that I had the strength, time and desire to explain and prove to them what and where they were wrong. 


Looking back, it’s a little funny that at one point I felt like I had destroyed the pro-Russian institutions built up over the years in my mother’s head. These were probably the happiest moments of communication with my mother during the full-scale invasion. But I was wrong.


When I realized this, I was overwhelmed with hatred, resentment and disappointment that I could not influence the situation in any way. I felt even more hatred for Russia. After all, the fact that my ties with my mother are destroyed is the result of the activities of the Russian propaganda machine. For many years, Russia has bought Ukrainian politicians and the media to use them to promote its narratives. Russia even used the Orthodox Church (the Moscow Patriarchate) to penetrate deeply into the heads of Ukrainians. 

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It’s really terrible to live with these feelings. They eat away at you from the inside so that you can feel the wound inside you bleeding. A terrible cocktail of conflicting emotions rages inside. I feel both disgust and concern for a loved one, because I love my mother. I’m like a tiger in a cage, pacing back and forth endlessly between these feelings. 



It took me months to accept it and move on with my life. Now I’ve accepted the fact that a person can’t be forced to change their beliefs. We all learn from our mistakes.  


So for me, this year has been one of loneliness, in which I could not share my feelings with a loved one. This year has become a year of winter for all Ukrainians – long and fierce. This year was a terrible realization that nothing will ever be the same again. Nor will I ever be the same again. But I realized one thing for sure – I don’t want these dark feelings to burn me from the inside out. No matter what, the world is the same as before, it is beautiful. And many more people around are kind and sympathetic. 


The idea that dawn always comes after the darkest hour gives you the strength to wait and believe – believe that soon, the day we are longing for will come: the day of our victory!

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