Notes from the East 2
It’s been a month since I wrote last about the conflict in the east of Ukraine. Since then, the biggest news is that a troop rotation is happening and guys who have served more than a year at the front can go back home, see their families, relieve their stress, and (if possible) think about the future. No doubt many of them will wish to come back, because the war doesn’t let men go easy.
I met an interesting man last week; he was of higher rank, more than just a regular soldier. He’d left Ukraine many years ago and started a new life in England with a stable income and nice surroundings. He told me that when the war started, he felt he needed to return to Ukraine, to protect his country and to get the occupied lands back. He’s at one of the hot spots along front right now and fights for those goals.
They say that when you emigrate, you get used to your environment and this often changes you completely as a person. But what we see now is that many Ukrainians from all over the world are helping people here in eastern Ukraine – volunteers, diaspora, businessmen, the new generation with Ukrainian roots, NGOs – the list is huge.
“Victory. We want our land back. Then peace.” You hear these words from almost everyone who is at the front. Then on their days off, many soldiers look to step away from the realities of military life and busy themselves with something else – shopping, a trip to the nearest city, a stop at the bar. But then there are some, who, having fought six hard days, like workaholics spending the weekend in the office, will actually spend their only day off without leaving their positions. Is that weird? The front has become their life – an inseparable part of it.
The soldiers always need to know that they’re not forgotten. Two years ago their winter was a disaster in many ways – not enough warm clothes, a lack of ammunition, too little food and water, on top of the stress and horror of war. Now their needs are different. They need your warmth, your support, and your faith in them. You can see good examples of the kind of support that keeps them going all over; whether in military hospitals, or at headquarters or offices, even in the bunk rooms on the front line trenches. What keeps them motivated and feeling valued is often the drawings of children. The artwork and letters of kids help them survive the shelling, shooting, and the explosions… These pictures make them think that they are not fighting in vain, nothing is in vain.
Wherever you are, write a wish, draw a picture, make a video, and send it to the troops – it will help make them strong enough to stand for what we all love – Ukraine.
Send your letters and parcels through АРМІЯ SOS – www.armysos.com.ua