By Nadya Serarno, age 9 and IndyKids staff
In 1949 my great-grandparents fled a war-torn Ukraine. When I first heard about the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022, I couldn’t believe that so little had changed in over 70 years.
When the war started in February 2022, it was the only thing people were talking about. I was really scared. A lot of my friends at school asked if I still had family in Ukraine, if I could speak Ukrainian. They asked me a lot of questions that weren’t related to the war. Many of the questions they asked were hurtful, but they didn’t know it was hurtful. Thinking about my heritage and homeland that might be destroyed was so upsetting. I wondered how bad this would get, and I hoped it wouldn’t be as bad as World War II.
More than 8 million Ukrainian people have now fled their homes seeking safety, much like my great-grandparents did so many years ago. Your home should be a safe place, a sanctuary where you can feel at peace. But so many people are living in fear. Leaders around the world have condemned Russian President Vladimir Putin for his attack on Ukraine and its people. Many countries, including the United States, have sent military aid to Ukraine and have put sanctions on Russia.
Ukraine is home to nearly 44 million people. It shares a long border with Russia, a country which has never truly allowed Ukrainian people to live in peace. Both countries were once part of the Soviet Union, but they became separate countries in 1991 when the Soviet Union was broken up.
When I think about what is happening, I want to cry. Russia shouldn’t have started the war, and being half-Ukrainian made me even more upset, because I knew people would die. Almost 7,000 lives have already been lost. I feel that even though they don’t have my exact blood, those people still feel like part of me. They should be free, just like me. Ukraine deserves to be its own country.