Three local contributors on the invasion of Ukraine, a year later

In this Sunday’s Ideas & Voices, hear from three local contributors discuss the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the history of the conflict and why it’s important for residents of the Miami Valley to continue to care about what happens thousands of miles away.

Yarema Semaniv, 24, studies theology at Ukrainian Catholic University and plans to pursue a post-graduate degree in psychology. I stumbled upon his Instagram account last year just after the Russian occupation started. Yarema’s photos struck a different, more sensitive nerve than did the images of abject misery and violence I was seeing on my screens. Somehow, they seemed more real.

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Tatiana Liaugminas: We will never be brothers

shocking for many Ukrainians, including my relatives, was the invasion itself. As they watched Putin encircling Ukraine with thousands of Russian troops and rolling tanks through snowy fields, they did not believe that the Kremlin would attack.

And indeed, why would they? We are one people, “brothers,” according to Putin.

Thanks to geographic proximity and the inevitability of family ties, one would imagine that the connection between the two countries is, if not amicable, at least not adversarial. Yet, the relationship between Ukrainians and Russians is complex and has never been altogether harmonious despite their shared roots, linguistic similarities and reciprocal cultural influences.

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Christian Raffensperger: Supporting democracy isn’t just the American way, it’s the Ohio way

In the second year of this war in Ukraine, support from other democracies will be crucial in the Ukrainians will and ability to persevere and ultimate succeed. While we have our own issues at home, in our state and our nation, one thing that is clear to me is that Ohioans are staunch respecters of freedom, both our own and that of other people around the world. Thus, we should stand up and support the Ukrainian people who are fighting for their freedom from a bullying neighbor who wants to take their country and get rid of their democracy. This isn’t just the American way, but the Ohio way.

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