Opinion | Russia’s War in Ukraine Is Dividing Families

We landed in Warsaw on the eighth day of the warfare. A Polish man Tanya knew had agreed to drive her to the Ukrainian border, the place she deliberate at hand off the provides to a buddy of a buddy who would take them deeper into Ukraine. I needed to go to the border, too, so I caught a journey.

Throughout the five-hour drive, Tanya sat within the again seat, misplaced in thought. She’d gotten a textual content from her sister, who had lastly made it to a bomb shelter. However the shelter had no electrical energy and nearly no meals or water. Tanya’s sister and her sons had tried to depart to search for meals, however a mine exploded proper in entrance of them, forcing them to run again inside. One of many sons had damage his leg. Just a few days later, Russian airstrikes destroyed a hospital maternity ward and, the next week, a theater the place a whole bunch had taken shelter. A bomb left an enormous crater close to Tanya’s sister’s home. Mariupol was turning into a demise lure.

Tanya’s sister’s telephone fell silent once more. However Tanya’s mother and father nonetheless refused accountable Russia. As a substitute, they echoed Russian propaganda and stated “Ukrainian Nazis” have been killing their very own individuals to whip up hatred towards Russia.

Throughout the drive to the border, Tanya’s Polish buddy instructed me that Mr. Putin was like a cornered rat — a harmful factor.

He conceded that Ukrainians had made some errors. They in all probability shouldn’t have handed a divisive regulation that bolstered Ukrainian as the only real state language. That had infected Russian audio system like Tanya’s mother and father. And for too lengthy, Ukrainian nationalism had rested on the likes of Stepan Bandera, a nationalist chief who tried to get Ukraine out from the grip of the Soviet Union by collaborating with Nazi Germany. A statue of Bandera had been erected in Lviv, fueling Russian propaganda that casts Ukraine’s authorities as “Nazis.” It didn’t assist, both, that the Azov Battalion, a regiment with far-right fighters and origins, is among the many defenders of Mariupol.

However now, Ukrainians are extra centered on their survival. Earlier than the warfare, Tanya instructed me, about half of her associates might have lived fortunately below both Russia or Ukraine. Now, she stated, none of them need Russia. Ukraine is solidifying as a rustic, whilst it’s being destroyed.

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