A Ukrainian native tells their story 

Credit to Olia Lomakina

By Ashley Burdick | Graphics/Website Editor

It seemed like a normal Thursday morning for Olia Lomakina of Kharkiv, Ukraine until she woke up from a deep sleep to the sounds of shelling.

On February 24, Russia invaded Ukraine. Lomakina heard loud shelling out of her bedroom window early in the morning and got news that all main Ukrainian cities, including hers, were being bombed.

Lomakina said she remembered that she could not eat or sleep that day.

“We didn’t sleep that night, the building was shaking from the shelling sometimes,” Lomakina said.

Lomakina wants to show to people that Ukrainians had normal lives with hopes and dreams and for most of us it just turned into dust in one day.

“I want people to understand that we are not some sort of third world country. I have two master’s degrees, I had two my own apartment in different cities, lots of clothes and fancy stuff. In one day, I lost everything and my life shrank to one small bag,” Lomakina said.

Alex, 19, of London, United Kingdom said they do not live in Ukraine; however it is where their family is from.

“There was a fair amount of stress in the weeks leading up to the invasion, we were planning to visit family in Ukraine after not being able to go for two years because of COVID-19. I’m the only person in my family who even thought that something might happen well before it did… and then it did happen. I don’t know if that’s to do with my family being from eastern Ukraine, people were mostly ambivalent about Russia before everything as far as I can tell,” Alex said.

Alex said that there’s a constant thought of having absolutely no idea if you’ll ever actually hear from relatives again.

“Getting anything done for the last month has been near impossible, because you’re just constantly checking news sites and twitter for updates on the situation. You know it doesn’t really change anything but you can’t stop looking up details for the places where people you know are,” Alex said.

Lomakina said that ever since the war started, her priorities have changed.

“If I had to write my priorities now, it would be to get some proper sleep and some proper food. This is how my priorities and daily needs have changed,” Lomakina said.

Lomakina said ever since this war started, she has changed as well.

“I always considered myself as a person of strong character but I am struggling to control my state and stay an unmovable rock. I can feel physical and mental changes too. For example, I can’t stay in a quiet room because I constantly hear air alarms when there is none,” Lomakina said.

Lomakina said it is surprising to see the way we see things and that we are united to support Ukraine.

“Thank you for all the help and support! I have never felt more United with the world than now,” Lomakina said.