In London, a sister remembers her brother killed on Ukraine’s frontline. In Glasgow, a truck driver gets a call from his wife in Lviv: war has arrived in their homeland. And in Connecticut, a university professor reflects on Putin’s unraveling.
For the Ukrainian diaspora, Putin’s war resonates deeply. We asked Ukrainians, expats and political experts from across the globe to weigh in. The views expressed in this commentary are their own.
Olesya Khromeychuk is a historian, writer and director of the Ukrainian Institute London. She told CNN that her elder brother, Volodymyr, was killed by shrapnel in 2017 during the conflict in Luhansk, eastern Ukraine.
“I am a historian. I realize that we are living through a moment that will be on every syllabus of European history. Now is the time to decide what place each one of us wants to have in that history. Stand With Ukraine,” Khromeychuk said.
Ukrainian truck driver and father-of-two Oleksandr Bilyy, spoke to CNN as he was crossing the Polish border into Ukraine. His words are lightly edited for clarity.
“On Thursday I woke up in Glasgow (Scotland) at 6.00 am, my wife calling me, telling me Russians were bombing our capital and our country. So that’s it. I drove my truck to London, picked up my car, and started driving to Poland – I arrived there Saturday.
“My family live in Lviv. I have two kids there. I’m a truck driver, I do jobs all over.”
“Ukraine is my homeland, and if Ukrainians will not fight for our homeland, who will? We do not want to live with the Russian style of life, we want to live with our style of life,” the 39-year-old told CNN.
Marci Shore is associate professor of modern European intellectual history at Yale University, focusing on 20th and 21st century Central and Eastern Europe.
“This is no longer the master chess player, the shrewd grand strategist. He is no longer a rational actor, even in the coldest and most cynical sense. He seemed unwell and unhinged,” she said of Putin’s speech last Monday.
This no longer felt like a man playing a high-stakes chess game, now it felt like a scene from ‘Macbeth.’ My intuition was that an aging man facing his own death had decided to destroy the whole world. Ukraine is very possibly fighting for all of us. “
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