The day started like the day before it, stomach in knots at least it eased up a bit by mid morning and I was able to talk to a couple of people and attend a meeting for young farmers. We even had some lunch in town, the weather has cleared up and it felt easy to forget for a moment that the chaos going on on the other side of the continent. Fleeting moments.
I have been keeping track of requests for transport, food, first aid and also keeping an eye out of the map looking to see how things are doing. My friend in Chernihiv flanked on both sides with occupied territories has posted a picture of molotov cocktails ready to go, requests for help with evacuations and medicine has been pouring in including a request for medicine for an epileptic child. The Red Cross are trying to bring in food and help evacuate people in Kharkiv, it has been bombed and shelled and is surrounded. Tanks are in their streets and civilians reported shot. There is nowhere to go now, shops are either closed or empty or have very little. We are witnessing a humanitarian crises on huge proportions, keep in mind that the population of Kharkiv is 1.4 million people. Children in hospitals and elderly people and children’s homes and the maternity wards and hundreds of thousands of people hiding in their basements without food and without potable water.
Some Russian soldiers abandon their tanks and surrender, some are captured, in one touching video Ukrainians let a soldier who has surrendered use their phone to called his mother and give him hot tea and food. They appeal for other soldiers to give up this senseless fight and appeal to other mothers to join the protest. I feel very touched.
Reports of racism in the meantime at the border make me feel sick to my stomach, I find it incomprehensible how one could be racist even in times of crises. It is a poignant reminder of the monumental work still to be done in anti-racism. My heart breaks thinking about people escaping from a war zone and being denied equal treatment because of what they look like.
Food and access to money is scarce also in Western Ukraine even though it is relatively safer than other parts of the country. I see a lot of requests for evacuation still not only from Lviv which seems still doable by drivers to go in and out…