The Ukrainian War: Scale, Response, And The Effect On Ukrainian Students


100 days of genocide: an introduction to the horror facing the Ukrainian people of Lancaster

At the start of the Russo-Ukrainian war, it was an all-out assault; mobilisation, that eventually led to major cities being surrounded. “Horrific conditions – people leaving the country at the start of the war had to sleep on each other in train carriages”. According to Ukrainian students attending Lancaster University, the chaos was insurmountable.

The current war is a direct result of the tensions between the NATO alliance and Russia and corrupt politicians in Ukraine being cleared out due to the Euromaidan protests and Revolution of Dignity in 2014.

This slip of control has caused panic in the Russian military and government, resulting in pointless conflict and the deaths of thousands of soldiers, war crimes, civilian execution, and complete destruction of the beauty and history of a country that once flourished.

‘’One day, it’s going to end. People are going to settle, all the while having nothing to come back to,” the Ukrainian community at Lancaster University states.

Ever since the Bolshevik revolution, there has been a complete change in socio-economic and political arrangements in Russia throughout the Red October Revolution. Suddenly, one of the most powerful, largest countries in the world, had turned communist – the start of a paradigm shift.

The never-ending chase for power and control has resulted in reoccurring wars. The political arrangement today in Russia has not changed much since USSR (Union of Soviet Specialist Republics) and the KGB (Komitet Gosudarstvennoy Bezopasnosti) has upheld the communist system, watching people and investigating in all rumours, looking for signs of civil disobedience, leading in brutal and unethical interrogations.

Lancaster University and student response shows that every pit has its lights. “My family are alive – that’s about as good as it gets. For me personally, at least,” Anastasiia Manmar, a Ukrainian Student at Lancaster University, stated.

The Lancaster University Support Ukraine movement has spearheaded support for Ukrainian students from the start of the war. Two protests against the war, one of the 25th of February and another on the 1st of March, were successful. Many societies attended, from Lithuanian Kazachstan to Politics and Philosophy.

“As students from Eastern Europe, we felt that we had to express our support and denounce Russia’s actions due to being closely attached to the events,” Diana Diaconescu, a key organizer for the LU Support Ukrainian protests, states.

“When we woke up that day, we were absolutely shocked to see the news. We wanted to do something, so we contacted LUSU to see if anything was being organized, but nothing way,” said Eric McNally, VP of the Lancaster University Politics society.

The response of the students was incredible. Nationality, ethnicity, or creed did not matter. Everyone who wanted to support the Ukrainian community did so with flying colours. Although it was the students who showed the greatest strength.

The LU Students’ Union expressed outright support, even helping to organize the events – although the University’s response left something to be desired.

According to Eric McNally, ‘The reaction of the University has been absolutely abhorrent. They didn’t even try.” Although some departments, namely history, politics, and philosophy, honestly and clearly expressed their views.

Housing options over the summer were disregarded. The fact that international students were accommodated over the COVID 19 crisis makes the situation take a seemingly hypocritical slant.

Western response mimics pouring embers on a scorched earth. In the West, there has been a distinct lack of awareness of the effects of the war manifesting in the people affected. During the 1st Lancaster University protest against the Ukrainian war, some local Lancastrians hurled abuse at the students participating, showcasing astounding indifference.

Locally, Lancaster itself has greatly supported the Polish city of Lublin, which lies 70 miles beyond the Ukrainian border and houses a great number of refugees. The Lancaster Homes for Ukraine Scheme is a housing program designed to allow Ukrainian refugees to settle into emergency housing. Help for bringing over relatives is also offered.

‘I am thankful for the way the UK government and citizens are currently dealing with the issue of war,’ – says A. Manmar during an interview on the 22nd of May, ‘A greater amount of support and empathy has been shown.

Many western countries have sent humanitarian aid. Weaponry, supplies, and foot soldiers have be dispatched. Brave 3rd parties, (shipping companies, private entities, and people themselves) have worked as couriers to supply war-torn cities and areas.

This war has revealed a massive boil that has been brewing on the surface of the earth for decades. ‘All this war has done is revealed the chaos of the world…’ – Ukrainian community of Lancaster University, ‘ Silence is support, and we’re all in this together.’

Communities should come together and show support; the options available are plentiful and accessible. Refugees should be shown love, and the world will love us back.

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