For people from Ukraine, there is “life before February 24th” and “life after February 24th”. On February 24th, Russia launched an open invasion against Ukraine from multiple fronts. Millions of Ukrainians saw their life change overnight — someone volunteered to the army, someone had to flee their home, some people lost their job or, much worse, their loved one.
Yet, when people in my social circle are talking about the war, we don’t just say “the war.” We say “the full-scale war”, “the big war”, or “the 2022 war”. It’s an important disclaimer that allows us not to imply that the war started in 2022, even when we personally weren’t directly affected by the war before.
Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine has been ongoing for eight years now. In March 2014, Russia forcibly annexed Crimea. During the infamous spring of 2014, the Kremlin regime launched a covert military aggression in the east of Ukraine, supporting puppet quasi-states in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
Over the next eight years, close to 15,000 people were killed as a result of this war, and millions had to leave their homes and resettle elsewhere, often leaving their livelihoods behind. I have a lot of friends who grew up in Donetsk, in the Luhansk region — many of them had to leave their homes either to escape the war or because occupation by Russian-backed terrorists left no opportunities for the development in their native regions.
Still, most Ukrainians had not been directly and personally affected by the war in 2014. Indirect effect has been everywhere — from seeing a friend being displaced from her native city to reading fresh news reports of Ukrainian soldiers wounded by Russia-backed separatists. Yet, it’s been only in 2022 that most of us saw first-hand how the war looks like.
Today, though, the terrifying experience of the war is something all Ukrainians have experienced in one way or another.
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