Opinion / The Nation and the World

American citizens must take action in the war in Ukraine

While walking through Massachusetts suburbs in the winter and spring of 2022, you would have frequently caught a glimpse of blue and yellow colored flags billowing alongside many homes. Now, with a year having passed since the Russian government’s invasion of Ukraine, American citizens have failed to remain attentive towards the war that has since claimed hundreds of lives, driven millions from their families, and left entire cities in ruins. Across the United States over the past few months, there has been less support than ever towards the warfare. 

This is a huge problem. International awareness is so important because although to the average person, issues like war may seem individual to the countries involved, they impact much more. In reality, social, political, and economic shifts often influence the state of nations globally. This effect is completely hidden if we are not choosing to think consciously about the media we consume or failing to talk with others about international issues. Additionally, American support is especially important in this situation to change its violent path. We should welcome conversations about the current state of the conflict and listen to those directly affected. By spreading awareness of the war’s current situation, together we can alter the course of its indifference.

According to the U.S. Department of Defense, as of April 2023, the U.S. has provided Ukraine with security assistance totaling more than $32.4 billion since 2014, with $29.8 billion of that since Russia’s 2022 invasion. On April 4, 2023, the Biden administration declared that the United States will provide the Ukrainian government with $500 million worth of equipment including ammunition, tankers, fuel, rockets, and surveillance radars. 

The United States government is still heavily involved in this war, yet it seems as though a vast amount of the American population has started to forget about the fight altogether. According to a Pew Research Center survey the percentage of adults in the U.S who are very concerned about Ukrainian defeat has declined from 55% to 38%, in just the months between May and September 2022, with over a quarter of citizens saying they are not concerned about the issue at all. 

It has been a year since the war started and only god knows how long it will last if we stay like this.” says Dana Hall student Maria Margulis ‘25, who moved from Ukraine to the U.S. in March 2022. For this warfare to resolve, support has to not only originate from Ukraine’s bordering countries, but emerge throughout the entire world, Though, with the current amount of endorsement developing among U.S. citizens, international support is not possible.  

Maria also talks about her personal experience saying “ I didn’t really understand what was going on and when on the third or fourth day of my trip I was told I was going to stay and live here I thought it was a joke. I always dreamed to study in the US, but it came quicker than I expected.” Ukrainian refugees were not only an important focus in the beginning months of the war but even more so currently as the number of people living in the U.S. today seeking security increases. Maria is also very vocal about the hardships that come with immigrating under such circumstances. She says “The hardest thing for me was that I was a child. I’m definitely more mature because of the situation, but I am still a child. Without my parents, and hearing from home I lost friends and family without being able to say goodbye. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.”

She is working on a fundraiser for the Ukrainian organization Miсто добра (Misto Dobra), an international support center, focused on feeding and supplying medical care to Ukrainian women and children. Maria is very grateful for opportunities like this that Dana has given her. She says “The greatest feeling I felt in this was on the first of June. I was crying 24/7 in my room and missed my family when the admissions officer from Dana called me and said ‘We have good news for you. “I was accepted into the school. For the first time since I came here six months before, I laughed.”

As individuals, we can change the path of this disregard by raising awareness about the current state of the conflict. We can support organizations like Miсто добра, by hosting charity events, fundraising, or donating anything we have left to spare. We need to open ourselves up to conversations with those affected by these events and respond to what they need. In addition, we need to consume consistent updates of current events arising about the conflicts and share our research with others. Advocating for Ukraine in this war requires a multifaceted approach including supporting humanitarian organizations, listening to those who have survived the conflict, and educating ourselves and others about the situation. By doing so, as U.S. citizens, we can succeed in promoting peace for a country and society of citizens who have faced so much horrific violence.

Photographer: Evgeniy Maloletka, Associated Press

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