When My City Was Taken

It was 5 am when my mom called me crying: “Kyiv is bombed.” My family was 500km away, terrified whether I would come home. My hands are shaking, my voice is trembling, and my cat is frightened, as she feels something bad is happening right now. We need to evacuate… fast.

On the 24th of February 2022, Russia began a full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. On that morning, Ukrainians in Kramatorsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Odesa, Kherson, Brovary, Mykolaiv have woken up to the sound of explosions and shooting.

Vladimir Putin declared war on Ukraine, saying Russia is doing it in self-defense. They are creating propaganda everywhere: in Ukraine, Russia, and the whole world.

Since the early morning of the 24th of February, airports in Ivano-Frankivsk, Lutsk, and Dnipro were shelled. Military units in Lviv, Zhytomyr, Ivano-Frankivsk, Vinnytsia, Luhansk, Khmelnytsky, Kyiv, and Kherson regions were under missile fire. Russian warriors attacked Chernobyl, and they have taken control of it. We don’t know what they are to do. If they set anything on fire there, the whole European continent will face an ecological disaster.

And that was not enough… Russian troops continue invading, killing civilians, bombarding cities and civic objects… Ukrainians and the Ukrainian army are alone against Russia. They are shooting hospitals, kindergartens, and buildings. They have killed so many civilians, including children and women. How dare the world just monitor this brutal aggression.

Populations in major cities are hiding underground. Imagine hundreds of people lying on cold cement praying to survive this night. A little child is hugging her dog, asking mom, “why did we leave our home? Are we going back?”. And they don’t know whether their home is still there. Where Russian troops haven’t destroyed it yet.

Ukrainian armed forces are battling to the end. They are giving their lives to save their country. They are defending civilians, our sovereignty, democracy, values, and territories, part of which is already occupied since 2014. They are heroes who never go back and never give up. They are someone’s mothers or fathers, sisters or brothers fighting against thousands of hostile warriors and their brutal weapons in 2022 in the Middle of Europe.

Russian so-called “peacekeepers” are destroying everything. The cities are on fire, frightened people, children, crying, and the army defending them. Is that what we call peace? Can casualties and broken lives be called peace?

Stop quoting the UN Charter or other documents. Stop telling us that Russia is an aggressor, and you are deeply concerned. That can’t help. How can you stop tanks moving through the cities with such words? How can you guarantee that little girl hiding in the bomb shelter that she is ever going to be home?

Immediate and decisive action is necessary to save Ukraine and our people. We ask you to call on your government and head of state to take action. Ukrainians don’t want to lose their country. We don’t want war. We need massive defense assistance to Ukraine and, most importantly, military equipment in the field of anti-air defense and secure communication means for the Ukrainian army.

We are asking for sanctions of unprecedented magnitude and force against the Russian state, oligarchs, and all Putin-affiliated elite. Cut off Russia from the SWIFT, impose an embargo on Russian oil and gas, block Russian airlines, sea cargo, passenger companies, block access to ports for Russian companies. Provide weaponry for territorial defense forces and volunteers willing to resist Russian aggression and occupation.

Initiate the establishment of a no-flight zone over the territory of Ukraine, either by NATO or the UN. Russian aviation now constitutes the crucial Russian asset to incur irreparable harm to Ukraine. Bold action can change the situation. WE NEED YOU.

You can’t continue closing your eyes to such terrible things happening to the peaceful nation with a long history starting from Kyiv Rus. You can’t save the world with international law or words not embodied and not turned into action. If we fail to act now, Putin’s regime will see no reason to stop, and other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about intervening in other countries. If you let Putin continue attacking Ukraine, one day their troops will knock on your doors all of a sudden at 5 am.

– Anna Fratsyvir, Kyiv

Disclaimer: More to Her Story is a neutral platform and outlet for young women and girls around the world to share their stories, voices, ideas, and creativity. The views of the young women and girls who share do not necessarily reflect the views of More to Her Story.