DANCING PANDAS

Journaling The Journey

Kyiv Ukraine

Kyiv, Ukraine

My heart is broken.  What is happening in Kyiv and Ukraine overall is unimaginable.  This is a country that has been under attack since 2014 and shamefully we and the rest of the world have done very little but turn a blind eye on the Russian encroachment of this peaceful nation.  

We were very lucky to visit Kyiv a few months ago.  It was so clear that the people of Ukraine although quite diverse were and are united.  Russian and Ukrainian languages could be heard throughout the city.  Yet there was no disdain for one or the other.  People were open, proud, inclusive and kind.

Memorials for the fallen soldiers of the ongoing war were very present in the center of the city.  Many had already fallen to this Russian invasion.  And now with Putin’s unprovoked additional attack many more are being slaughtered.

What are Young Russians Saying About Ukraine?

Right now we have an interesting vantage point into the minds of some Russians.  We are currently in Sri Lanka where tourism is thriving.  80% plus of the tourists here are from Russia.  We hear interesting conversations between Russians and people from Poland as well as other European nations.  It is refreshing to hear the young Russians say, “We cannot believe that in 2022 we have known the same leader/dictator for over 20 years!  How can this be happening?!  We need to do something about this”. 

Yes, something absolutely has to be done.  Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man before he fell foul of the Kremlin, said on Friday that only revolution would topple Vladimir Putin, and he expected the Kremlin chief to crack down further on dissent at home after invading Ukraine.  Reuters.

It is also heartening to hear Polish and Romanian tourists changing their travel plans to return as soon as possible to help take in displaced people from Ukraine.   We are further encouraged that European nations are opening their borders to help displaced Ukrainian refugees.  Currently over 1.5 M people have been displaced and need assistance.  The EU is predicting that 5 to 7 million people will be forced to flee from Ukraine.

How Can We Help Ukraine?

So what can we do to help? There are a number of things.  We have donated to World Central Kitchen as they have set up a number of places on the border to help feed the displaced Ukrainians.  In addition the Canadian government is matching donations to the Red Cross to help Ukraine.  United Help Ukraine is another organization that is raising money to help.  

In addition, poisoned and jailed opposition leader of Russia, Alexei Navalny is urging people in Russia and all over the world to stand up against Putin’s war.  During the weekdays he is imploring folks to come out at 19:00 and on weekends at 14:00 in main squares in Russia.  So many brave Russian citizens have already been imprisoned for their courage to stand up against Putin and this war.  The least that we can do in the west is to protest as well – at main squares, at Russian Embassies, etc.,

Our thoughts and hearts are with the strong and courageous people of Ukraine.  This cannot be another protracted war like in Sarajevo.  We hope and dream that Ukraine will be victorious over this horrific attack.  Once they are, we will return to their stunning country and continue to marvel at it’s beauty and strength.    

Kyiv Ukraine
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