Glory To Ukraine!

Or at least, as close as I have come to it, so far. I’ve learned many things about Ukraine since February, when the russian* army poured over its borders in a full scale invasion.

I want to share with you the beauty and richness of Ukraine’s truly diverse culture. Because people do get tired of hearing about war and destruction, and dramatic photos of buildings reduced to rubble start to all look alike.

Partly, that’s because most people in the United States don’t know what these cities looked like before they were pulverized by russian missiles. So I plan to do posts with before and after photos of cities such as Odesa and Mariupol. I’ve finished the first four cities. To see them, click Ukraine Cities Before (The War) in the sidebar, under Explore!.

Another thread in the posts will be historical. Ukraine, its people, and its cities have a very long and fascinating history. For example, the official date of the founding of the capital city, Kyiv (Куів), is in the fifth century, AD 482. That’s over 1,500 years ago!

Many other cities in Ukraine are quite old, and so are some of the buildings, such as St. Sophia Cathedral in Kyiv. It was begun in 1011 and took 20 years to complete.

Then there is the colorful Ukrainian embroidery. I wonder if any other country has an official traditional shirts day? If you like colors, there also are pysanky, the most beautiful Easter eggs I’ve ever seen. And don’t forget the ancient Scythians, the Cossacks, and the Crimean Tatars. Have you ever seen the House of Chimeras? Well, you get the idea.

Of course, I’m hoping that all this exploring will make you as big a Ukraine fan as I am. The list of posts is in the sidebar, under Explore!. Remember that old saw about how you don’t miss the water until the well runs dry? Think of Ukraine as the water. There is so much to lose if we forget about it. Cлава Україні! (Slava Ukraine!)

Whatever Happened To Ukraine?

I was a bit shocked when someone asked that of me recently. But when I thought about it, I realized that news about the invasion of Ukraine became almost nonexistent after the initial excitement. What happened is that the enormous russian army was unsuccessful in capturing the capital city, Kyiv.

Eventually they withdrew, then went south and east to reinforce the russian units there. Theoretically, they should have had a much easier time of it there because the flatter terrain made it easier to get around and because the russian army had more depth once the northern units arrived.

In the north, the russians left behind a surprising number of dead civilians, some of them obviously executed, and cities reduced to rubble. They didn’t have the quick success they expected down south, either. Instead, the Ukrainian forces began pushing them back. In late May, the russian army was against the russian border—but the Ukrainians were running out of ammunition.

© Image Russia Is About 28 Times The Size Of Ukraine
Russia Is About 28 Times The Size Of Ukraine

They begged repeatedly for more modern weapons, ones for which it would be easy to find ammunition. I really don’t know why the “partner” countries didn’t supply what Ukraine needed, and end the fighting. Supposedly there was some fear that Ukraine would attack russia. Not at all likely, considering that russia is about 28 times as big as Ukraine!

October update: Things have begun to move in Ukraine! A few units of the weapons they needed most, multiple launch rocket systems, began appearing on the front. Then suddenly, in early September, the Ukrainian army chased the russians out of a wide area, in the eastern Kharkiv region (oblast). On September 10, they regained the town of Izyum.

© Image The Sign Reads I (Heart) Izyum In Cyrillic Letters
The Sign Reads I (Heart) Izyum In Cyrillic Letters

They also gained awareness of a whole new assortment of atrocities. In a mass grave in Izyum they found over 450 bodies, some military but most civilians, some of them obviously tortured and then executed. The sites of the torture were rooms specially fitted out for this dreadful activity, 22 in all, scattered throughout the town in such choice spots as the police station, train station, and in one case, a kindergarten. One shudders to think what happened there.

About a week later came the russian response: a barrage of cruise missiles targeting cities, towns, and other civilian infrastructure. Like the previous constant illegal shelling of cities, this attack was presumably to frighten Ukrainians. But Ukrainians never stop fighting for their country, scared or not. They quietly began preparing for the next advance.

Since then, there hasn’t been a dramatic battle like that for Izyum, but city by city, village by village, the Ukrainian flag is flying in places that have been without it since February. The most serious strike so far wasn’t officially by the Ukrainian Army, but may have the greatest effect. On October 8, a truck bomb exploded on the bridge across the Kerch Strait from Crimea to russia, dropping one span into the water and enveloping in flames the parallel railroad.

While the other span of the bridge can be used, the volume of supplies that can be trucked across the bridge is reduced by half, and the railway is damaged. This result, though only partially effective, confers a major benefit on the Ukrainian army: from now on it will be very difficult to keep the russian forces in Donetsk, Luhansk, and Crimea supplied. However, the most immediate effect was massive retaliation for damaging what was arguably putin’s greatest achievement in Ukraine.

The next day, October 9, about 100 cruise missiles were launched at, not military targets, but Ukrainian cities all around the country, including Kyiv, the capital. Along with the missiles came Iranian kamikaze drones, the kind that circle for awhile, then dive at a target and explode. The following day brought 28 more cruise missiles and more exploding drones.

Each of these strikes is illegal, and while most were intercepted, some hit their targets: residential buildings, crosswalks on city streets, and as much as possible of the electricity generating infrastructure. One week later, about the time most of the damage had been repaired, came a massive drone attack, killing some people, injuring others, and leaving many cities without electric or water service.

© Image President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Stands Beside A Downed Kamikaze Drone in Kyiv
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy Beside A Downed Kamikaze Drone in Kyiv

Besides generating terror in the inhabitants of the cities, the main purpose of these attacks seems to be destroying the infrastructure needed for heat and light, just as winter arrives. Because Ukraine had been exporting large amounts of electricity to the rest of Europe, this destruction creates serious problems for all those countries as well as for Ukraine.

Ironically, Ukraine is still advancing on the battlefield. City after city, village after village, are being de-occupied. Ukrainian forces are now drawing very close to the strategically important city of Kherson, captured early in the invasion and the only Ukrainian city that the russians captured intact.

So currently, Ukraine forces are succeeding so well that russia has turned their main efforts into destroying civilian infrastructure, apparently believing that this will eventually cause the Ukraine government to beg for mercy, regardless of what is happening between the two armies. That this tactic consists of a war crime at every strike does not seem to bother russia in the least.

Okay, What Can We Do To Help?

Well, of course my first advice is to read the posts on this site, so that you can see why Ukraine is worth fighting for. In addition to that, I’ve put links in the sidebar that will keep you up to date on Ukraine, even if news is scarce in your local sources. Since this war threatens Europe, news is much more available in European sources than in further away countries like the United States. I like The Guardian, a British publication, so I have given you that link.

Another link in the sidebar goes to my favorite news source, the official website of the President of Ukraine. President Zelenskyy makes a short speech every night (Ukraine time), summarizing what has happened that day. You can print (or save as a PDF) a transcript of the speech in Ukrainian or English. I’ve done a detailed post about that website, because it is loaded with information, photos, and videos. You’re allowed to use the materials on the site if you include attribution information and a link back to the site.

To contribute to Ukraine’s victory or to the enormous rebuilding project afterward, use the link to the UNITED24 website in the sidebar. This fundraising site was launched by President Zelenskyy. Small donations are fine. Having many donations, no matter what size, means that many people support Ukraine. That’s what large contributors (entire countries, in this case) want to see. While for now the funds go to help Ukraine, President Zelenskyy plans to make this site permanent, as a rescue fund for any country that suffers an invasion. I like that idea, so I have given you that link also.

Finally, as you learn about Ukraine, talk to people so that the world will not forget about the invasion. President Zelenskyy has put out an appeal to provide information and emotional support to any Ukrainians you can contact who are living in the occupied areas. The russian occupiers have cut off all contact with the rest of the world, and constantly spread dire misinformation. If you know journalists or politicians, be sure to talk to them about Ukraine. Every little bit of outreach helps! Thanks, and Слава Вам! (Slava Vam, Glory To You!)

Image ©2022 ABS Ukraine flag colors line Sources Image ©2022 ABS Ukraine flag colors line

Flag animation sample recorded from SketchFab Universal 3D/AR/VR Viewer using iSkysoft Media Converter Ultimate as mp4. Animation title “Support Ukraine with love” (Ukraine flag) by Nyilonelycompany (CC BY 4.0) URL: Slava Ukraine text added in PhotoShop.

Flagpolecreated using metal-2735777_640.jpg (CC 0) from

I_heart_Izyum600x406.png by PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY Official website (CC BY-SA 4.0 Int.) Two children walking a bicycle past a sign made of large free-standing letters reading “I (heart) Izyum” in Cyrillic text. Via President of Ukraine Official Website, .

Comparison600x339.png Combination of two maps:
Map_of_Russia_-_Altai_Republic_(with_Crimea).svg.pngby Stasyan117 (CC BY-SA 4.0 Int.) 4-21-15 Republic of Altai on the map of Russia
combined with
Raions_of_Ukraine_(after_Oct._2020).svg.png by Rino ap Codkelden (CC BY-SA 4.0 Int.) 9-2-21 Regions of Ukraine after the completion of the administrative and territorial reform on October 25, 2020, both maps via Wikimedia Commons.

509c335a6ec8e51805a567ef4c418552_1666900580_extra_large.jpeg by PRESIDENT OF UKRAINE VOLODYMYR ZELENSKYY Official website (CC BY-SA 4.0 Int.) 10-17-22 President Volodymyr Zelenskyy standing beside a downed Iranian kamikaze drone. Via President of Ukraine Official Website, .

*I no longer capitalize putin, russian or russia. After the nazi-style atrocities, and especially after many days of dropping cruise missiles and Iranian combat drones onto cities, none of those deserves the honor of a capital letter. I’m in good company: the official Ukraine government sites have made the same gesture, and no longer capitalize russia, russian, moscow or kremlin.

Translate »