Ukraine: Russia cannot understand our weapons, says fighter
Alexandra Shubnaya was 34 years old and in February 2022 was at a critical juncture in her life. The director of a real estate agency, years of hard corruption meant she was now finally living a good life, with a flat in the middle. Odessa, a multicultural, international-major metropolis, where she regularly meets friends and enjoys the wonderful things life has to offer: “I was probably famous,” she tells Express.co.uk. But in the early hours of February 24, she woke up to a “low voice, a scary voice, but a voice I didn’t understand.”
At 6 o’clock in the morning, when the sister called, she was confused: “She asked me: ‘Are you all right?’ I didn’t know what noise was, but I told him I heard something. I asked her why she was calling me so early in the morning, and she replied: ‘It started.’
When President Vladimir Putin gave the green light to his wide-ranging offensive in Ukraine, the port city of Odessa was his first target.
Warehouses, radar and air defense systems were attacked, killing at least 22 people on the first day alone.
Along with the likes of Kherson, Melitopol and Mariupol, Odessa is one of the most affected cities in Ukraine, purely because of its location.
Located in the Black Sea, this is an area of great strategic importance, and those who control it are given the opportunity to export and import goods, people and weapons as they wish.
For Russia, it offers another strategic dimension: the basis for moving north.
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Odessa: The Pearl of the Black Sea is the first city to be hit by a Russian missile
Because it has occupied the southern part of Ukraine since February 24 – already merging the Crimean peninsula in 2014 – it will give the Kremlin almost complete control and uninterrupted access to the country’s ports on the Black Sea.
While praiseworthy on paper, Alexandra suggests cutting her work for Putin in Odessa: “This is an international city. It was normal for people there to speak Russian. But now, after the bombing, the whole city speaks Ukrainian.”
Like many other Ukrainians across the country, Alexandra did not expect an attack, and therefore none of her belongings were ready to flee immediately.
She was initially living in Odessa, drowning in the security of a nearby bomb shelter with a friend.
For three days and three nights, the city shelling kept them awake, until Alexandra’s friend told her he wanted to leave: “I said, ‘Well, I’ll stay in Odessa.’ I am going to the army and I will help Ukraine.
“But when I said that, I was trembling uncontrollably. My friend said to me: ‘Look at you. You can’t go to the army! You have to go to another country to be safe.’ The mother has cancer.
“I took $ 300 (£ 244) with me, thinking and hoping the war would end in a few days. When I arrived in Moldova, I realized that was not the case. I realized that this was just the beginning.”
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Heartbreaking, Alexandra’s story is not unique.
Millions of Ukrainians have fled their homes since February 24, with an estimated 8 million people fleeing the country, and another eight million internally displaced.
According to the UNHCR, by March 20, a quarter of the total population had fled their homes – less than a month after the attack – the figures were mostly women and children.
Most are absorbed by neighboring countries, such as Poland, which received 4 million Ukrainians, while Romania, Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia also received large numbers.
Some have moved further west, such as Alexandra, Spain, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom.
Many are welcome, some have said that as resources become more stressful and the cost of life crisis increases, stress will inevitably increase.
It includes the Safe Nations Coalition, an organization that has in recent months focused its efforts on the refugee crisis and its possible consequences, and has helped rehabilitate people like Alexandra.
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Fugitives: Nearly eight million people have fled the country, the same number internally displaced
Strategy: Vladimir Putin wants Odessa because of its strategic location in the Black Sea
It warns that “the whole of Europe is not ready for a massive influx of refugees from Ukraine.”
But, so far, the continent has managed to create a welcoming environment: in the early days of the war, the EU called for temporary security directives that would give Ukrainians the right to live, work and study in any member state for an early period. One year
And in the UK, initially criticized, many schemes aimed at helping Ukrainian refugees have been scrapped, including a family visa scheme, a family member for Ukrainians already in the UK, and a sponsorship scheme known as ‘Homes for Ukraine’. , Which allows UK people to host Ukrainian refugees they know.
Alexandra traveled across a handful of countries during her ten-day journey.
From Moldova, she traveled with two other women and their one child, a one-year-old child, but the conflict in the group soon saw them split up and Alexandra was left alone.
After contacting several friends and receiving help with money and clothing, one suggested he go to Germany, where there was a group helping the Ukrainians flee the war.
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When he now has a warm place to live, a place to eat, a place to bathe – which some might describe as a comfortable life – things like happiness, love and freedom are replaced by deep despair: “When I arrived in Germany, I lived. Maybe, I will have a lot of things, maybe I can work on the house and land because I am good.
“But I soon realized that there was nothing I could do without German.
“It is very difficult to come here now. When you lived a good life in your own country, in your own city, with your parents and your friends. And now, you’re like a stranger, because there’s nothing you can do.
“I can go and clean the house. But I can’t do it forever. I’m 34. I had a hard time getting to where I was in Ukraine. I worked hard. But I did it, and now I have to start again.
It’s not just a matter of starting over again in order to get through Alexandra’s life.
The first days of the war are still fresh in his memory, a few voices bringing him to the center of Odessa: Is
“My therapist told me it would last for a year. It’s a big shock. When Odessa was initially badly bombed, a very close friend and colleague of mine, along with her three children and her mother, died. I was devastated. “I cried for three days.”
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Western governments have appealed to Ukraine for financial assistance in an effort to send military equipment directly to help the country defeat Putin’s military and avoid similar atrocities experienced by Alexandra.
The United States has sent 50 million rounds of ammunition for handguns, rifles and artillery, as well as advanced rocket launch systems; Turkey’s famous Bayraktar TB2 combat drones have helped Ukraine destroy Russian armed vehicles; The United Kingdom has pledged १ 461 million to Ukraine’s military and provided 120 armored vehicles, 5,800 anti-tank missiles, five air defense systems, 1,000 rockets and 4.5 tonnes of explosives.
The list goes on, with additional support from Canada, Germany, Spain, France, the Nordic countries and almost all European nations.
This indicates that the world knows that war is not near the end.
Water supply: Freshwater quickly dried up in many cities, including Odessa, pictured
As of this week, Western leaders have said that the conflict could last for years and that long-term military support is needed as Russia begins to deploy reserve forces in an effort to occupy more parts of eastern and southern Ukraine.
NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said in a recent interview with Bild magazine: “We must be prepared for the fact that this could take years. We must not stop supporting Ukraine.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered an equally serious tech proposal, saying “we need to stabilize ourselves for a long war”.
And, in a sign of high seriousness, the new head of the British army, General Sir Patrick Sanders, said this month that the British army “must be ready to fight in Europe once again.” […] Now it is imperative that our allies build an army capable of fighting and defeating Russia in the war.
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For European and Western governments, the conflict has turned into a war of words and numbers; Raw data and forecasting; Economic losses and declines; Imports and exports declined; Inflation; World War 3.
But what does it mean to have a house turned into dust and rubble?
“I don’t understand anything now. I don’t know when it will end. It’s hard to think because I don’t have the answer. I don’t know,” says Alexandra.
But, she adds: “Of course, I’m optimistic. I pray to God every day, ‘Please stop this war, please stop this.’ But, I don’t know. I like Ukraine. I love the country, it’s strong. I know this. We can rebuild it. I know we will. We are very powerful people. “