Good morning, Chicago.
One year ago, Russia began a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, launching airstrikes on cities and military bases and sending troops and tanks from multiple directions. Ukraine’s government pleaded for help as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee the violence. World leaders condemned the attack and many promised sanctions.
More than 14 million Ukrainians have been driven from their homes, in what the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees called “the fastest, largest displacement witnessed in decades.” The aggression hit home for many across Chicagoland, which boasts the second-largest Ukrainian population in the U.S.
Here is a look at the impact of war, one year later.
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The air raid sirens wailed before sunrise on Feb. 24, 2022, in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv, marking the first time the alarm had sounded outside of planned drills since World War II. Twenty-four-year-old Halia Didula and her sister frantically packed a few essential items before fleeing.
One year later, Didula is safe and living in the Ukrainian Village neighborhood of Chicago. She remains torn between her new life in Chicago and the one she left behind in Ukraine.
One Russian soldier tells his mother that the young Ukrainians dead from his first firefight looked just like him. Another explains to his wife that he’s drunk because alcohol makes it easier to kill civilians. A third wants his girlfriend to know that in all the horror, he dreams about just being with her.
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Recordings of intercepted conversations between Russian soldiers in Ukraine and their loved ones back home offer a harrowing new perspective on Vladimir Putin’s year-old war.
New video footage of Bakhmut shot from the air with a drone shows how the longest battle of the year-long Russian invasion has turned the city of salt and gypsum mines in eastern Ukraine into a ghost town, its jagged destruction testament to the folly of war.
The footage — shot Feb. 13 — shows no people. But they are still there — somewhere, out of sight, in basements and defensive strongholds, trying to survive.
From Kyiv to Kharkiv to Mariupol, the continued rapes, abductions, murders and torture of civilians fit the exact description of genocide adopted by the United Nations in 1948 as the Genocide Convention, writes Kerry Kennedy and Sen. Dick Durbin.
As a longtime human rights lawyer and as the U.S. Senate’s majority whip, chair of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary and co-chair of the Senate Ukraine Caucus, we have been outspoken about the necessity for ending the atrocities of this wholly unnecessary war.
In many ways, Ukrainian nationalism has been a product of exile, forged in overseas communities like Chicago’s Ukrainian Village, writes Ron Grossman.
Designated a Historic Preservation District by the city in 2002, it was born of the vision of Dr. Volodymyr Simenovych, who in 1911 urged Ukrainians to settle near Western and Chicago avenues, as the Tribune subsequently recalled: “We can build a glorious new church, we can all purchase lots near the church, we can eventually build our homes on these lots, and with God’s help, we can have our own, new Rus (Ukraine’s ancient name) right here in Chicago.”