Bruno Vespa, has been the host of the Italian TV program Porta a Porta ("Door to door"), which has been broadcast without interruption on RAI channels since 1996. He interviewed Zelensky for Italian TV on May 12, 2022 and on Jan 17, recorded another interview with the Ukrainian president as they strolled through the streets of Kyiv.

While Pope Francis celebrated the Via Crucis on Good Friday worldwide, the first television channel RAI 1 transmitted a report by Bruno Vespa from Odessa, with these words: “I came to Odessa on Good Friday because hardly anywhere else is the tragedy of the Passion and the desire for the Resurrection felt with the same intensity.”

He opened his broadcast on the seafront, near the iconic sculpture of the door “Domus Loci” by the Ukrainian artist Mikhail Reva. “It is said that the first light of dawn passes through this door overlooking the Black Sea every day. And legend has it that whoever makes a wish will almost certainly see it fulfilled. We can imagine what the desire of Ukrainians will be at this moment.”

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There are many stories from the families of fallen soldiers:

·       Victoria Mosienko, wife of a former Donbas veteran who returned to fight and died in the Azovstal works in Mariupol. The family waits for his remains after he was killed by phosphorus bombs.

·       Svetlana Antypova, born in Moscow, a former prima ballerina at the Odessa Opera whose 51-year-old son, a former Afghanistan veteran, volunteered in spite his age and fell on the Donbas front.

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The $61-billion military aid package from the United States, if passed as expected, will allow the Armed Forces of Ukraine to bomb troops and operations behind enemy lines.

·       Oleksy Patalach, a Kherson history professor, arrested and tortured by the Russians, accused of being pro-Ukrainian because of his history books.

·       Anastasia Borysova, who saw Russian planes and tanks in her occupied city on day one of the invasion, who told the story of a girl who was forced by the occupiers to eat her finger nails because they were painted in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.

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·       Caterina Shimasko, who has Russian grandparents, who is a civilian volunteer with the Ukrainian defense forces and whose husband is in the Ukrainian Special Forces - she was threatened with death by her Russian relatives.

·       Valentina from the Donbas region wanted to be filmed from behind, because she still has relatives in the occupied zone and is afraid of retaliation. She witnessed arrests of Ukrainians opposed to the occupation by the Russians. Her husband is serving at the front around Donetsk, while her brother was arrested.

In Odesa the worldwide Catholic charity “Caritas” has an office and has provided assistance to more than 100,000 refugees. Its director is a Polish priest, Father Piotr Rosochacki, who previously ministered in the parish of Simferopol in Crimea before being forced to leave by the Russians in 2015. He said that eight Catholic priests, who remained after the Russian occupation, keep in constant for fear of being arrested.

The Catholic bishop of Odessa, Stanislav Shyrokoradyuk was interviewed in the Catholic cathedral of Odesa and Crimea. Speaking in Italian, he related stories of the Holodomor and the deportations made in the Soviet era. He was in Kharkiv in 2014 during the Euromaidan protests. He said that, since the start of the war, he found Catholics and Orthodox united in helping families and each other which he saw as an important message of hope.

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“There are many stories of pain in this transmission, but at the each story ends with the belief that Ukraine will win, the country will be united and will be able to honor its fallen,” concluded Bruno Vespa.

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