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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Friday, April 19, 2024

Ukraine at War: Navigating daily challenges and massive disasters

Recent Russian attack on the Kakhovka Dam has had palpable effects on the well-being of Ukrainians across the globe.

Ukraine at war Column Graphic

To better introduce intricate software as a solution tool, one of my professors asked the class to name a problem we encounter in our daily lives. My first thought was, “There is a war in my country.” I stayed silent for that part of the class, as a simple solution for this kind of problem does not exist. We talked about ways to free up space on iPhones and moved on to learning the program further.

Adjusting to regular news about deadly shootings and living in constant fear for my family is a scary process. Conversely, the impact of the war invariably finds surprising ways to manifest itself, from a dull realization in class that Ukraine is always on my mind, even when I do not consciously think of it, to the sudden discovery that a missile landed far too close to home this time. Or finding out that a former classmate, an aspiring actor, joined the army. The major military event of the summer that caught me and many Ukrainians by surprise was the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam, a reservoir that supplied water to parts of southern and central Ukraine. The horror that happened on June 6 was in a way expected, since the region has been under Russian occupation for some time, and there had been hints and indications of suspicious activity. Yet it was hard to believe that Russians would actually target the dam, causing ecocide that consequently killed over 50 people and hundreds of animals. It is impossible to access the precise casualty numbers, as some parts of the Kherson region are either still under Russian occupation or subject to constant shelling. On that day, I woke up to videos of an enormous flow of water fully covering houses in the province of Kherson Oblast and washing infrastructure, soil, substances like engine oil and everything else in its path into the Black Sea. Over 700,000 people, including my family, were affected by the aftermath of the attack. My parents still do not have running water in their apartment.

Ukraine is working diligently on mitigating the consequences of the dam destruction, while simultaneously fighting on the actual front and preparing for a second harsh military winter. As experts forecast attacks on energy infrastructure, the Ukrainian government is repairing damaged power stations and negotiating electricity imports. Having lived days on end without access to energy in the aftermath of Russian shellings of power plants, some Ukrainians buy portable chargers, camping gas stoves and even power generators in hopes of having some access to electricity during the cold months. Undeniably, the upcoming winter might be even more challenging for those who already have limited access to water.

This summer I visited my parents’ home in Kryvyi Rih, which lacks clean water, and woke up to explosions just a couple miles away from the apartment I stayed in in Kyiv. Coming back to the U.S., it is mortifying to see how the Tufts Russian/Slavic and Central Asian Culture House and the Tufts Russian Slavic Central Asian Student Association have not been renamed. It is crucial to remember that the war is still ongoing and bringing more tragedy to Ukrainians. The support of the international community is essential now more than ever.