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A Diary Entry by Daryna Anastasieva

Updated: Mar 12

I remember my feelings very well two years ago when the full-scale war started. There was a lot of fear then, the massive attack on Ukraine could literally be felt in the air. Then a lot of terrible things happened: rapes and murders in Bucha, Irpin’, Borodyanka, Hostomel, occupation of Mariupol, a bomb dropped on the Drama Theater which served as a shelter there; occupation of the Zaporizhzhia region, Kherson, deadly strikes in Vinnytsia and central Ukraine, mass graves in the Kharkiv region; constant aerial bombardment by missiles and drones over the entire territory of the state; heat, water and light outages; destroyed property, broken families; both military and civilians having PTSD; children stolen from the occupied territories; prisoners, torture and missing people. This has been the daily agenda for the past two years. We are now living the daily life of war. There is a lot of fatigue, a lot of pain and frustration, but it doesn’t mean it`s over for us. This country will fight as long as there is still even one single Ukrainian left. Of course, everyone is tired. Of course our partners in Europe and the United States are tired of it. There is no desire to continue this war and bury our close ones. But we cannot give up our independence, land and culture to the aggressor just because he wants it so much. Russia has many resources, but we are stubborn and ergonomic.

 

Last week the Ukrainian forces left Avdiivka, these days Navalny was killed. And I saw the reaction of the foreign media, which in a moment switched from the most important military operation in eastern Ukraine to the death of this man -- the all world's media did that. This illustrates Ukraine's place in the world in a very telling way. I don't believe in the possibility of opposition in Russia. The Ukrainian opposition goes on Maidan and expresses its will, chooses its rights, influences the government, changes it, and it doesn't need leaders, leaders or prisoners to do that. The Russian people do not like freedom, they like war.

 

And we are forced to live in this war, although I would be very happy to get on a plane in Boryspil and fly with my partner to the Canary Islands, for example, as I did in 2019. Only this time we would take the children with us. And then on my return I would host my relatives from Norway and we would go to the Ukrainian Crimea - they've never been there - and then we would go to the Ukrainian Donetsk, where they're from. I don't know if is going happen in reality, but I will do my best to make it happen. Meanwhile, bookstores are opening in big cities in Ukraine (last week a new 3-story one opened in Khreshchatyk, the 5th in the capital in the last 4 months). Voices of Freedom, a book with some of the most iconic living writers whose work is shaping contemporary Ukraine, is being sold in the 3 largest chains in Ukraine. Theatrical performances are staged, all cinemas, restaurants, stores, businesses are working, and people are dying: fighters are dying at the front, defending the country and stopping aggression, in the rest of the country people are dying from aerial bombardment. And those who survived get up the next day and go to work. In this war, it seems to me, it is easy to distinguish where is good and where is evil and the whole world will have to choose which side it is on. And I really hope that good will win.

 

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