Faces of Ukraine
Via this series of videos we hear the stories of some of the people of Ukraine whose lives changed overnight when Russia brutally attacked Ukraine on 24 February.
Some left behind their homes, family members, jobs, and headed towards the unknown; others decided to stay to defend their home, volunteering and rebuilding their country.
Their home was attacked, their lives changed forever. They lost loved ones, but they kept their hope, their resilience and their love for their country. Get to know some of the #FacesOfUkraine and their stories.
"Before, I had a really cool life. I had freedom in Ukraine. Russia has killed my life”. Lidiia fled Kiev and found refuge in Pula, Croatia. Now working as a dance teacher and waitress, she feels her existence is just waiting for peace.
"I understood that our peaceful life was over and that I could do more." When Russia invaded Ukraine, Mariana joined the army, supporting territorial defence. She is now a logistics sergeant. "We must put an end to this war". We stand with Mariana, we #StandWithUkraine
"When caught by war, I didn't want to be a victim." Kateryna enlisted herself in the army 1 month before Russia's invasion. "For me, the victory will be when Russia surrenders, with the guarantee that they can never attack us again."
In the early hours of 24 February, Lesia and her husband were awaken by text messages from friends. They packed, kissed their daughter and joined the territorial defence. "When you know you can die at any moment, you realise that you need to live for today". We #StandWithUkraine
"At least send me my brother." Marta is from Lviv. She was in France when the invasion started. Her parents refused to leave Ukraine, so Marta is now looking after her brother. But she knows they will go back: "I cannot wait any longer". We stand with Marta, we #StandWithUkraine
"Art is important to the Ukrainian soul. It expresses its features and history, and we need to save it." Yuliia's passion is music, culture, history. She's committed to devoting her life to her city, Kharkiv, "and now, I will", she says. #ARTvsWAR #StandWithUkraine
Kateryna is a young soldier in the Ukrainian army's food service. She enlisted the day before the Russian invasion began, which now feels so far away. “I have completely changed. My life is not at all like it was before 24 February”.
"Peace, democracy are very fragile things. Ukraine is now literally on the front line of European values." Serhii is a Young European Ambassador from Ukraine. He believes in Europe and all it stands for. The values Ukraine is fighting for are our values too.
"After a while I lost my emotions. But I'm always trying to help people, to stay positive." Kateryna heard the first explosion on February 24. Since then, her life changed. She now volunteers helping other Ukrainian refugees and hopes for a "normal life".
“We have firm plans about homecoming. To recover our news media, to recover Ukraine and make it better”. Oleksiy is a TV camera operator from Irpin. His team is now working in basements and under fire to document the Russian invasion atrocities.
"Independent journalism is important in times of war. Fact-based information can save lives." Olena is a journalist. She is in Kyiv and she brings truth to the public. We stand with Olena and all journalists covering Russia's aggression against Ukraine.
"I am a Ukrainian artist. I had to leave my atelier in Kyiv and all my paintings. At the moment I am volunteering, providing bulletproof vests."
"I used to work as a media expert. Now, I control the border between Poland and Belarus to stop trucks with sanctioned goods".
Full interview: How can you explain the war to a 4 year old child? “I just told her that we are being bombed and that we need to hide. I am telling her the truth”.
Full interview: “We hope it will end soon and we will be back.” Aliona waited until the very end to leave Ukraine, until her family convinced her to join them in Poland. She and her children are safe, but longing to return home. We stand with Aliona. We #StandWithUkraine
Full interview of Sima. She left with her child after the war erupted but her mother and brothers stayed behind.
Full interview of Olha, a mother of 2. She was forced to flee from home with her children, seeking safety & hoping for peace. We stand with Olha. We #StandWithUkraine.