On February 24 at around 5:00 a.m. Kyiv time, Russia began to invade Ukraine on multiple fronts. Most intelligence estimates at the time claimed that Kyiv would fall in 96 hours. Experts openly speculated about the future of Ukraine as a country.
June 3rd marks the 100th day of war. In that time, Ukraine has been able to hold on, winning the Battle of Kyiv, performing above expectations in other areas of combat and retaining its sovereignty.
Despite these successes, it would be foolish to celebrate the milestone of 100 days of war.
For the people of Ukraine, these past hundred days have been filled with suffering with no end in sight. Analysts are uncertain of where the war will go next. The news out of the Donbas region, where fighting remains intense, is incredibly grim. Russia continues to occupy much of Southern Ukraine. The Russian blockade of Ukrainian ports on the Black Sea has taken the world hostage in hunger. The stories emerging from settlements liberated from Russian control by Ukrainian armed forces are horrific; the very names Bucha and Irpin have already become synonymous with mass death and destruction. Recent reports have stated that Russia is committing genocide against the people of Ukraine. It is not clear what the next hundred days will bring, but the only certainty is that the unjust suffering of the Ukrainian people will continue.
In these past 100 days, the United States has stepped up its support for its fellow democratic nation. It has sent financial aid and provided Ukraine with weapons to defend itself, most recently HIMARS systems. Along with government assistance, individuals have come together to assist Ukrainians through the war. In the early days of war, Americans rented out AirBNBs from Ukrainian hosts in order to provide them with some quick cash. A fundraiser in Louisiana raised over $8000, allowing for residents of a nursing home in the Donbas to be evacuated to safety. At Razom, we have raised money from childrens’ lemonade stands and tattoo parlors, from unique menu items at restaurants to Ukrainian dance classes. We have used the proceeds to purchase medical supplies, assist in evacuations, support local partners, and otherwise provide help.
The war is not yet over, however. Neither should our support for Ukraine be.
In the next 100 days, we as ordinary Americans can and should continue to provide assistance. We can continue to hold fundraisers or support already existing ones to help financially. We can call our representatives on Capitol Hill when there is legislation on Ukraine, letting them know that the will of the American people is to continue standing with Ukraine. We can refuse to give into the narrative of appeasement that has appeared in some publications, and instead listen to the voices of Ukrainians. Most importantly, we cannot allow for fatigue at the news to set in. The Ukrainians currently suffering in their country do not have a choice to turn off the TV or focus on anything else. We can share information about what is going on and continue keeping the narrative with them.
The people of Ukraine are refusing to give up the fight for their existence. The least we can do is refuse to give up on them.
Written by Razom volunteer Allegra Hill