Updated: Oct 21, 2022
The escalating situation in Ukraine would have devastating humanitarian consequences. It is crucial to hear the voices of Ukrainians on the issue. Here is a heartfelt message from Volodymyr Posviatenko, one of Rethinking Refugees' wonderful volunteers. Hear is voice.
"Recently, Ukrainians are under constant psychological pressure. Sadly, we have faced and are now again facing a real threat to our lives. We fear for the independence of our country. Please, don't defend Russia and say it is "expressing its legitimate concern." Just don't. The threat is real for us. Distrusting "the West" shouldn't trivialise the impact of Russian aggression.
It is important to consider our position in not wanting to give up our potential NATO membership. We just want guaranteed security. We don't assemble 100,000+ troops on the borders with our neighbours. Nor does Poland, Estonia, Latvia, or Lithuania. But the Russian government says that we, Ukraine, threaten Russia. Ukraine was a buffer before, and precisely how Russia annexed Crimea leading to a massive crisis in 2014. We are tired of the "fraternal" army on our borders, making our lives stressful.
If you think, lives of Ukrainians are not under threat, you are mistaken. The Russian government tell us that we are a Nazi state and kill Russian speakers. This country's leadership openly states that we cannot form a functioning state, have any right for it, or assert our culture. "You were part of Russia," "You are part of our nation, the same as us," "Our brothers, we are tied together." These narratives continue to justify their actions. We don't need to be "saved" by aggressive authoritarian rulers. And we have a right to choose what we stand for.
We Ukrainians challenge the ideological and historical narratives of the likes of Putin. If Ukraine becomes successful, it can show the Russian people that a change is possible. They see it as a direct threat to their power.
We don't want any war! We just want to peacefully live in our country, invite friends, welcome people, share our culture, thrive, and develop as a society. And we want everybody who lives in our country to feel peace & love. "