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.

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. 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. Слава 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.

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!

So that’s about how things stand now. The Russian army makes small gains, and then is pushed back. They have started shelling civilian targets heavily, apartment buildings and a shopping mall, presumably to frighten Ukrainians. But Ukrainians won’t stop fighting for their country, scared or not.

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 whatever language your version of the site uses. I’ll do 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 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 made 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!)

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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.

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