Students React to Ukraine Crisis

By Diana Grinberg ’15 & Miriam Gabay ’15

As the turmoil in Ukraine escalates, the Ukrainian student body of Midwood is feeling a direct impact.

The truth about what is actually happening in Ukraine right now is a controversial matter and difficult to understand. Different sides are saying different things, causing more problems and raising more questions. What started out as harmless protests transformed into violent havoc that is storming the nation and taking its toll.

“What the rebels are doing is vile. They’re killing their own people,” said Tatiana Malovana ’14. “They wanted to ban the Russian language as a whole in Ukraine, but lacking common sense, they didn’t realize how many people would actually be against that.”

Many people from small towns are beginning to take precautions because of these rebels.

“My family is from a small town in central Ukraine,” said Liza Stepanova ’15. “They are keeping safe and taking necessary measures such as not going outside after 5, stocking up on food, and adding extra locks to doors.”

Of course, most people are asking the same question. Why can’t things be resolved peacefully? But the situation has been everything but peaceful, with the death toll jumping to 95.

According to the Kyiv Post, Ukraine’s leading English-language newspaper, 984 protestors were in need of medical assistance, and 254 of those very protestors are currently undergoing treatment in various hospitals around the city.

“I tried seeing both sides of the conflict and the bottom line is, I will never support those who harm innocent people, no matter the reason,” said Monica Riskevich ’15. “I support peace.”

When Russia invaded Ukraine things got one step closer to war. According to CNN Russia had deployed approximately 16,000 troops since February 24.

Students in Ukraine with no intentions of getting involved in the conflict fear that they will be drafted into the military. This is a potentially life changing, and they may be fighting for something they do not believe in.

“Some of my older cousins who are in universities might get drafted into the military to fight Russia,” said Daniel Gorelik ‘14.

In November, the first people to protest on the Maidan in Kiev, Ukraine, were students. After, other people gathered up the courage to join as well. The main reason for the riots was that the people wanted liberty and to be treated as free people who have civil rights. They demanded a new, not corrupt government. They wanted new judges and fair opportunities. The president of Ukraine, Viktor Yanukovych, promised the people that Ukraine was moving toward being part of the European Union. At the last moment, the president didn’t sign the final contract with them and instead, reverted back to the Russians. This was the breaking point for the people of Ukraine. They felt deceived and lied to. After Yanukovych fled to Russia, people found in his palace, incredible treasures of different kinds and documents, which were indicative of government corruption.

“The Ukrainians are a kind and innocent group of individuals who have had a history of a corrupt government for as long as I can remember,” said Victoria Kantymyr ’15. “If it were up to me, I would allow Russia to annex Crimea before a war breaks out. It’s more true to Russia, and this decision would satisfy both sides. But for now, all I can do is sit back and watch my home country suffer more and more each day.”

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