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Mariupol maternity hospital after Russian air strike

Fleeing civilians killed by Russian fire

We just received this video message from friends in Kyiv

No-Fly Zone - Ukraine’s Direct Appeal

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Interview with a friend from Kyiv, by Leo Grunschlag

On Tuesday, I talked on the phone with my Ukrainian friend Artyom. I met him last October while I was travelling around Ukraine for two months.  Before the war, Artyom lived in Kyiv and played guitar for a metal band called Activated.

At 4:00 AM on February 24, Artem, along with many other Kyiv residents, was rudely awoken by the sounds of explosions ringing through the ancient European metropolis. After hearing two or three deafening blasts, he came to the realization that Russian missiles were raining down mere kilometers from his home. Artem then rushed out of his apartment on to the streets of Kyiv, where thousands of people were hurrying to flee the city with their family members and personal belongings stuffed into backpacks and suitcases.

Artem immediately set off to reunite with his brother, who lived in Kyiv as well. Afterwards, they and their friends departed the capital, heading westward. Artem is currently residing in an undisclosed location in western Ukraine, where alarms and air sirens are on full blast every day.

Thankfully, he is in good health and Russian troops have not occupied the area where he is living. Tragically, some of Artem’s friends haven’t been as fortunate.

One of Artem’s closest companions from Kyiv has gone missing. His mother and Artem have searched tirelessly for him over the past several days, but to no avail. Artem sadly explained that such disappearances have become exceedingly common since the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion.

Artem is deeply considering joining the Ukrainian resistance. Some of his friends tried enlisting in the army a few days ago but were told to wait because there weren’t enough weapons for them. Indeed, thousands of ordinary Ukrainian men from all walks of life have volunteered to put their lives at risk in order to fight the Russian invasion.

As a history buff, Artem astutely observed that the Russian military’s resort to indiscriminate firing against Ukrainian civilians closely resembles the tactics implemented by Nazi Germany in its failed bid to conquer Europe. So too, we hope, will the Russian military fail as well.

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