By Arseniy K.
It was 10:30 pm on February 24. I was doing my Psychology homework as my mother entered my room with tears in her eyes.
“Путін напав,” she said. “Putin attacked.”
I understood exactly what had happened from those two words, but I did not understand how to react. I would’ve never thought I would have needed to live through a war in my life, haven’t the world leaders gained enough common sense from two world wars?
Me and my parents immediately called our relatives still in Ukraine. To my surprise, not a single relative was crying or scared. They were all full of hope and bravery. My grandmother from Cherkasy that day told me that fear was not going to do anything, but courage and actions would.
It was scary for me knowing that my relatives were in danger, and that there was a chance that I would only see Ukrainian history as well as monuments in books and in pictures, not in person. We all know how Hitler was trying to erase the Jewish race from the planet and many other nations. Now, at this very moment, Putin’s regime is trying to erase my friends, relatives, family, and nation. The people of Ukraine.
I want to enter Ukraine when I am 18, and travel with my grandfather to Ivano-Frankivsk through the Carpathian mountains that don’t have any artillery craters. I want to drink Polyana Kvasova mineral water while watching a play in the Lviv Opera House without hearing the air raid sirens. I want to go fishing for trout with my uncle in a small river without seeing the people fleeing their country.
We have the opportunity to make that a reality.
As a Ukrainian living in the United States, I have the opportunity to educate those around me. Last Friday during my classes I educated around 85 students and teachers on what was really happening in Ukraine, and provided a first-hand view of the issue from someone who spent 70 percent of his life in Ukraine. I am also currently trying to convince my school’s principal to lend me the school’s auditorium and 30 minutes of an entire school’s day to continue educating those around me on the truth that the American people deserve to know.
Everyone reading this letter has that same potential for the opportunity, whether a direct vote in Congress to impose a no-fly zone, or the residence in a US city where there is a right to peacefully protest against Russia invasion. Imposing a no-fly zone would make sure that Putin’s military cannot send targeted missile strikes to schools, hospitals, apartment complexes, and evacuation roadways. The value of the lives saved by this would be immeasurable. Your voice has the power to change the outcome of this conflict for the better of this world. Help me make the Ukrainian people’s voice heard in the US, help us impose a no-fly zone, help us save our people.
Russian war in Ukraine has already changed the history books for the worse. Putin will now have his own section of war crimes on Wikipedia, yet you can still help me and the Ukrainian people to stop him from expanding it. Please help me and my nation to keep being who we wish to be: Ukraine.
Arseniy K. is a junior. He moved to the US from Ukraine in 2015.