Ukrainians in the East respond to the first anniversary of the Ukraine War

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – It’s been one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Anna Manchenko, a Ukrainian who now lives in the East recalls her own personal experience.

“No, that would never happen. It’s impossible. We live in the 21st century, that would never happen.”

This is a day Manchenko will never forget. Russia, against the wishes of most of the world, invaded Ukraine, starting a brutal and unprovoked war.

“Civilians who have one day enjoyed a pretty nice standard of living to one that is a war-torn country where you either have a choice of running or picking up a gun,” says ECU Political Science Professor, Hanna Kassab.

Manchenko says, “Every single minute we were tracking the situation. We could hear the explosions because I’m from Khurston and we heard all these jets right away. All the tanks, military cars that would come and we were ready mentally for that.”

Since the start of the war, thousands of people have died, millions have been forced from their homes, and some cities have been wiped off the map completely.

Even though several countries, including the U.S., have remained supportive of Ukraine, there are still concerns.

“It’s definitely weakening Russia but the problem is, the world is not simply America vs. Russia, or Ukraine vs. Russia. There are third parties out there that will benefit. So China is benefiting from Russia weakness so the weaker Russia gets, the more likely it’s going to turn to China for support.”

Ukrainians are still facing the impacts of the brutal war.

“They were trying not to hurt the civilian population too much but that has changed. So there has been escalation on the part of the Ukrainians as well as part of the Russians have now attacked critical infrastructure as well, and the conflict has spread beyond the borders of Ukraine with the sabotage of the North Stream Pipeline,” ECU Security Studies Director, Armin Krishnan says.

For Manchenko, the hope is to someday make it back home to a safe home.

“I’m trying to get used to the idea that there is no place to come back home. It is not safe. I have a daughter and I want her to be safe. Of course, I wish I could come back home because I had everything there. Unless it is safe, I will never come back there.”

Manchenko says she and her daughter are now living in Raleigh with a wonderful host family and her mother who is still in Ukraine is both healthy and safe.