Written by: Bobby Brown
Russian forces continue to advance inside Ukraine and amid reports of civilian casualties, ordinary Ukrainians, are hoping for a speedy end to the conflict. As with all wars, information is haphazard and constantly changing, with conflicting reports around fatalities, targeted shelling, as well as the capture of soldiers and key installations. These are some of the latest images out of Ukraine, after a night of bombing of at least five cities, including the capital Kyiv.
WARNING: Graphic image in video
Ordinary citizens are also uploading videos onto social media, showing the chaos and destruction of the Russian offensive. In this video, a child can be heard crying, moments after a bomb explodes near their home.
Russia-Ukraine conflict elicits undiplomatic protests
Children in parts of Ukraine were sent to school with stickers noting their blood types on their clothing, in case they would require medical attention. Residents of Moscow, as well as Ukrainians living in other parts of the world – including in South Africa – have been protesting the invasion and there is a palpable concern for the well-being of their relatives in the region.
Russia-Ukraine conflict worries South Africans with ties to the region
At least 3 000 Ukrainians call South Africa home, many of whom join protests outside Russian diplomatic missions in Pretoria and Cape Town today (Friday, 25 February). The main organiser is 36-year-old Anastacia Korpeso, who moved to Pretoria with her South African husband in September 2021. She hails from the Ukrainian city of Lviv and says she is in regular contact with her parents and friends, who still live there.
Lena Polovchenko is another Ukrainian who has been calling South Africa home. Hailing from the Ukrainian region of Donetsk, she lives in Cape Town with her young family and is a researcher at Stellenbosch University.
Russia-Ukraine bombings reverberates in Cape Town
Lena spoke to Smile Breakfast with Bobby and Lindy about the trauma of knowing her relatives’ lives are in danger back home, the impact on the children in the conflict zone, the way forward and how propaganda has eroded the relationship between ordinary Russians and Ukrainians.
Listen to the full interview here: