I Thought We Were Brothers
By the beginning of 2022, the gaze of the world was fixed upon Ukraine. The ominous buildup of Russian troops and materiel on the country's borders had been mounting for months, throughout which most of the international community had traded threats and accusations with Moscow. All the while, life proceeded apace for most Ukrainians, albeit with an ever-growing sense of foreboding.
Come sunrise on February 24th, 2022, both Ukraine and the entire globe awoke into a different world. In the largest single-day military land operation since World War II, Russia had finally made a violent entry into the territory of Ukraine. From the first minutes of the invasion, it was clear that Ukraine's civilians would pay a terrible price.
Thousands of lives have been forcibly ended since the invasion began, while millions more have become painfully reshaped.
The tragedy of this war is compounded by the historical and cultural ties shared between Russia and Ukraine. In Kharkiv, a predominantly Russophone city in the east of the country, one Ukrainian soldier, whose father still lives in Moscow, bemoaned what he sees as an unforgivable betrayal by Russia:
"I thought we were brothers."