Moment is publishing regular updates from Helen, a Soviet American Jew living in Kyiv. Read all the diary entries here.
Today we met with our landlord, Volodya. As soon as the war broke out, Volodya enlisted in the all-volunteer Territorial Defense Forces. He assured us that Ukraine’s army is stronger than Russia’s because it is made up of patriots. They are people of different professions united in protecting their own land against an aggressor.
On the other hand, for many Russian soldiers, the military is the only way to earn money and find a sense of purpose. Most of them don’t even have motivation. They are fighting in a foreign land and do not understand why. That is why, Volodya believes, Russian soldiers commit atrocities in places like Irpin, Bucha, Gostomel and other Ukrainian villages. It is pure madness or boredom, and there are no immediate consequences. But consequences will follow, and Russian soldiers—and the Russian government—will eventually be held responsible for the war crimes they committed.
Volodya says that the Ukrainian army and volunteer forces are stronger in morals and spirit. And of course, so many countries, including the United States, provide support to the Ukrainian military. But the major factor is the patriotism of the Ukrainians who join the defense forces, leaving their jobs and families with one goal in mind: the independence and freedom of their motherland.
One of those Ukrainians is Fedor Shandor, a Uzhhorod National University professor who has been in the news for conducting his lectures from the trenches in eastern Ukraine. “I have been in the army for 70 days. I went to the military registration and enlistment office immediately after February 24,” he told Uzhhorod’s media center. “But I did not give up on lessons with the students. Not even one was missed.” He added that he is fighting for an educated nation, so it is his duty not to give up the lectures.
With the support of people like Volodya and Shandor, I’m sure Ukraine will prevail. The future of the country is bright.