Ukrainian civil society has contributed immensely to Ukraine’s survival and defence, and these people will not back down until their country has won.
When the Russian invasion of Ukraine began, numerous Western media outlets reported that the country would fall.
There was a reluctance to help Ukraine, and some even claimed that international aid would “not make a difference”. The Russians shared similar sentiments, and they expected to take the country within a matter of weeks.
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But these opinions were very wrong, and the Ukrainians showed the world that they would not back down. Over the past 18 months, the Ukrainians have successfully forced the Russians out of northern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces have reclaimed thousands of kilometres of territory in the Russian-occupied south and east. Ukraine is now on course to win the war.
This success has impressed many, but it should not come as a surprise. Many are unfamiliar with Ukrainian history. For nearly 400 years, the Ukrainians fought for their independence against the Russians. Despite numerous Russian attempts to eliminate Ukraine’s culture and language, the people have survived and thrived. The recent invasion is nothing more than another Russian attempt to try and eliminate Ukraine.
A devastating war
Russia’s war has been devastating. To date, numerous villages, towns, and cities have been damaged or destroyed. Tens of thousands have died at the brutality of the Russians, and Russia has committed numerous atrocities in Ukraine. One-fourth of Ukraine’s population is also displaced. Given this devastation, some in the West have called for forced negotiations between Russia and Ukraine to try and end the war.
Despite this, Ukrainian morale remains strong. According to a recent poll by the International Republican Institute, 97 per cent of Ukrainians surveyed believed that Ukraine would win the war against Russia. In the same poll, 91 per cent of participants said they have strong confidence President Volodymyr Zelensky. These opinions do not suggest that country is in a state of panic. Instead, the polls show that Ukrainian morale is high.
Millions of civilians are currently and actively engaged in the war effort. For example, thousands of citizens voluntarily enlisted in Ukraine’s Territorial Defense Force. The resilience and courage of these brave men and women has helped lead to the liberation of numerous Russian-occupied areas throughout the country.
Beyond this work, Ukrainian civilians have been actively involved in charity events and fundraisers, where they have collected aid for their country. Assistance has ranged from medical equipment for hospitals to defense and humanitarian aid for soldiers and volunteers on the front.
Ukrainian civilians have also raised millions of dollars to rebuild their country. One example is UNITED24, an initiative started by President Zelensky.
The programme seeks to collect funds to defend and rebuild Ukraine. To date, several residential areas that were previously targeted by Russian bombardments have been rebuilt. Messages have been constantly shared on social media, showing before and after pictures and videos of residential areas that have been restored. Common individuals and international figures have teamed up for these efforts, and they have come up with creative ways to encourage people to donate to these causes.
For example, UNITED24 has organised virtual running events with RunUkraine, where participants can track their progress on the outdoor application Strava while recording their involvement in these virtual races. Proceeds have gone to efforts such as helping those impacted by the bombings in Kherson and Kyiv. Meanwhile, several musicians have hosted concerts, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars in humanitarian aid.
Another way is through sport. Recently, prominent footballers Andriy Shevchenko and Oleksandr Zinchenko co-organised a football charity match in London on August 5 to raise money to rebuild a school in Chernihiv province. The match took place at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. Numerous actors, actresses, musicians, and footballers participated in the charity event.
While Shevchenko and Zinchenko were unavailable for comments, sources from UNITED24 told Euronews that the event was a huge success. Aside from raising money for the Chernihiv school, the charity match reminded international audiences of the ongoing Russian invasion, and how the international community can help Ukrainians during their time of need. In short, these civilians are doing everything they can to help their country, and every contribution has made a difference.
Overall, Ukrainians have undergone a series of horrific events over the past 18 months. Despite these hardships, they have refused to succumb to Russia. Instead, they have fought hard, and have persevered.
The Ukrainian spirit remains strong, and Ukrainians will not rest until their country is fully liberated. These people are determined to defend their homeland. Ukrainian civil society has contributed immensely to Ukraine’s survival and defence, and these people will not back down until their country has won.
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