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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Ukrainian War From the Lens of a Student

Young girls standing in Kyiv, the capital city of Ukraine, and wrapped in Ukrainian flags in a show of support towards Ukraine. (​​Iulian Romanyshyn/Carnegie Europe)

The war in Ukraine started on Feb. 24, 2022, although arguably, the war has been going on for decades, with the 2014 annexation of Crimea marking the 21st-century starting point for the conflict. While people’s stories are being shared in the news, these are mainly the perspectives of adults, young adults, the elderly and soldiers. 

To resonate with the high school community, a 17-year-old Ukrainian native, who requested to be anonymous and will be referred to as “A,”  shared their experience of what it has been like living in Ukraine during the war. Answers have been edited for clarity.

International Dateline (ID): How has your life changed since the war began? 

A: Before the war began, I celebrated my birthday and wished not to go to school the next day… But not in that way. My parents woke me up at 5 a.m. with the words: “The war has started.” I rushed to pack my school bag with necessities like medicine, documents and money. In one day, my school bag had transformed into an “emergency bag.” My phone was blowing off with messages from friends who lived in other cities with pictures of explosions. Our basement became the safest place to be and our second home. I understood that there was nothing decent about war. It is not like is described in books with heroic actions, love and justice. It feels like fear, it looks like fresh graves and it sounds like sirens and cries. But it makes me understand what it means to be a nation and to have pride in one’s country. Ukrainians became like one organism, working in harmony.

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ID: What has been your greatest challenge?

A: The raids and sirens. For two weeks, all I managed to do was read the news to be up-to-date on air raids to let my family know when one happened. I still remember that warm night when I was woken up because of the sound of planes and sirens. 

ID: What is something you’ve done that brings you joy throughout the war or helps the situation? 

A: I met several online friends and dove into biology and history. All that I could do to help my country was for it to have decent citizens, and I did my best to be one. When I saw the news that my close friend died (he was very educated), I promised that I will represent my country in the best way possible, so I dove into work and learning.  

ID: How can people best help Ukraine? 

A: Stay aware of the official news and don’t let Russian fake news deceive you. Also, refuse to consume Russian products and content.

ID: What is something you want people to know about the war? 

A: This war didn’t start on the 24th, and not even in 2014. It is just another phase. This war has lasted for centuries. Don’t be shocked. The casualties today are only a small part of people who were tortured, deported and shot in a ditch. The only difference is that in the past it was hidden from the news, but now it isn’t. Also, I want people to know it costs much more than you could imagine. In my city, we see only men in military form or with crutches. Last but not least, Ukrainians are fighting not because we hate Russians, but because we love our families and our country.

If you would like to support Ukraine through donations, websites such as Support Ukraine Now offer resources and opportunities to donate and support. If you wish to tutor English to Ukrainian youth or volunteer in other ways, provides volunteer opportunities to teens 14 years of age and older. 

By Elektra Gea-Sereti

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About the Contributor
Elektra Gea-Sereti
Elektra Gea-Sereti, Opinions Editor
Hi my name is Elektra and I am a senior plus the Opinions editor. I have been at Dateline since 9th grade, and my opinion articles range from social media trends to movie reviews. While not being opinionated can be strenuous, I do write the occasional sports, features, and food article. Outside of Dateline, you can find me on the volleyball court, or debating people in Mock Trial. 

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