As Russia’s war nears two years, Ukraine still deserves our support - Steve Cardownie

The conflict in the Middle East has predictably and understandably commanded the attention of the world’s media to the extent that another conflict, the Russian war against Ukraine, has had to take a back seat.

​However, my Ukrainian in-laws, who have found sanctuary in Edinburgh, ensure that I keep myself abreast of developments as I scour press outlets for updates and analysis of the prospects of Ukrainian success.

I am also in regular contact with my long-time friend Yuri, a former Soviet Army Tank Commander, who now delivers humanitarian aid to the beleaguered towns and villages that are bearing the brunt of the illegal Russian invasion.

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He informed me that the Ukrainian resolve is stronger than ever and that they are determined to repel the invading forces despite the many hardships they face.

I also spoke yesterday with a Ukrainian friend of my wife’s, now living in Edinburgh and who returned from a fleeting visit to see relatives in Edinburgh’s Twin City, Kyiv, just last week.

She told me that the city’s residents are living “one day at a time” as they don’t know when air raid sirens will sound alerting them to potential Russian attacks. She said that when her young daughter visited her school, she was briefed by teachers on what to do and where to go if there was an alert and her friends told her that they now take two bags to school each day - one filled with books and the other with water, snacks and a blanket in case they have to take shelter.

But in an effort to maintain some sense of normality for children, entertainment events and outings to indoor funfairs and the like are organised on a regular basis, where kids can enjoy themselves for a few hours and hopefully forget about the effects of the war.

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She said that the electricity supply is unpredictable as the country’s energy infrastructure is continually targeted by Russian forces, although the city authority usually speedily restores power.

Although the city’s impressive Metro system is still functioning, it has to be suspended when people are using the underground as shelters although other forms of public transport are operating well despite the trying conditions.

Yuri told me yesterday that while the citizens of Kyiv go about their daily business as normally as they can, they are acutely aware that other towns and villages are not faring as well, with no water supplies or electricity for days or weeks on end.

The locals who have decided to stay and tough it out face daily bombardments as they walk about the streets that have been left in ruins by constant shelling as they search for food.

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He told me that he will continue to deliver much needed supplies to these areas with little thought for his own welfare as he strives to help those most in need.

Compared to the horrific events and the ever-mounting number of civilian casualties in Gaza, what is happening in Kyiv at present may seem insignificant.

But the war in Ukraine will reach its second anniversary in a few months and its people still deserve our unstinting support.