Ukrainian students and history teachers share thoughts on war from personal and geo-political standpoint

William Fisher, Online Editor-In-Chief

  While the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv is nearly 5000 miles away from Mundelein High School, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has had massive effects across the world and even in our school.

  Yevheniia (Jane) Surzhko, junior, is a Ukrainian student who recently moved to Mundelein and is new at the school. 

   She explained, “Unfortunately my father and other relatives are in Ukraine so my mother, brother and I are here, fortunately we’re the lucky ones, because my Uncle really helps us a lot.”

  Surzhko also describes her relatives in Ukraine’s experience with the war. 

   “Sometimes they are upset with it because everyday there is an air raid and so they’re always nervous,” she said.  

  The war has ravaged Ukraine, but neither Russia nor Ukraine seem to be nearing a victory. 

  Neil McCarthy, social studies teacher, compares the war in Ukraine to World War 1, a war of trenches and utter deadlock. 

   “I don’t know if its a stalemate but I think there is some good news for Ukraine, I guess they’re going to start a counteroffensive next week, they’re retaking some territories,but I think it’s going to be back and forth like an accordion, that’s what history shows us,” he said.

  Ruslana “Russ” Verkhohliad, junior, is also from Ukraine with family still in the country. 

   “I [moved] here four years [ago] and last summer we went to Ukraine before the war started and we’re so happy that we did it,” she said.

  According to an NBC News article published on June 24, 2022, more than 71,000 Ukrainains had arrived in the U.S. since March of this year at that time. 

    Surzhko describes her time here so far. “I think this is the third week of being here and it’s a really interesting experience for me,” she said.

  McCarthy describes Vladmir Putin, president of Russia’s move to invade Ukraine as a  “terrible, just terrible decision.” He compares it to President Bush’s 2003 invasion of Iraq and how Russia will really be hurting in 10 years due to the sanctions. However McCarthy does admit that Putin has adapted well as the war has gone on. 

  The west has been supporting Ukraine by training Ukrainian troops, giving military equipment, and in a variety of ways. The war has also seen Russia sanctioned heavily by the west and pushed traditionally neutral countries like Sweden and Finland to join NATO. 

  Internally Russia has seen increased censorship and a shrinking economy due to the war.

  “He’s [Putin] really clamped down, he’s truly a full on dictator, autocrat now, he’s really controlling the media, the message,  it’s incredible how ignorant the Russians are…they are trapped with the internet the Russians will give them, the tv the Russians will give them, the newspapers the Russians will give them and so it’s incredible how brainwashed they’ve become,” stated McCarthy.

  If Surzhko could give one message to the Ukrainian people it would be this-“Stay strong guys, everything will be fine, we’ll manage to win this.”