Russia-Ukraine war: Polish perspective

Poles+protest+against+the+War+in+Ukraine+in+front+of+Russian+Embassy+in+Warsaw+on+February+24.

Grand Warszawski

Poles protest against the War in Ukraine in front of Russian Embassy in Warsaw on February 24.

News about the brutal war between Ukraine and Russia has shocked the whole world, particularly Eastern and Central Europe. Although the tension between these two countries has been palpable for centuries, the Russian government denied they would ever invade their neighbor. However, on Tuesday, February 24, President Vladimir Putin ordered the military to launch devastating attacks on Ukraine both by the air and sea. In just two days, over 150 people lost their lives in this so-called “special military operation’’. The Ukrainians have been hiding in bunkers and leaving the country to escape this tragedy. Over 30 thousand refugees came to Poland, my home country, hoping this nightmare would soon become history.
Poland, as one of Ukraine’s neighbors, is doing everything in its power to improve the country’s current situation. Its government has been helping them militarily and financially, creating thousands of fundraisers to donate money for Ukraine’s soldiers. The news about the war has been all over social media and people have been posting tips on how to help Ukrainians survive this catastrophe. Polish citizens have been helping a lot too – they have donatined necessary materials, such as first-aid measures, food or blankets and provided psychological help for the victims of the war. Theaters and other cultural centers from all over Poland allocated their space for the refugees, filling it with mattresses for them to sleep on. Lublin, one of the biggest cities located next to the Ukrainian border, has launched emergency accommodation points for the Ukrainians with services providing food, a place to sleep and legal aid. With spreading awareness on social media and creating billboards about the war in every corner of Poland, people are gaining more donors and trying to improve Ukraine’s horrific situation.
As much as the media are trying to smooth things over, what’s done is done and the Polish community is in chaos. People have been spreading panic online, using fake articles to make the situation seem even worse than it already is. There is no way to tell the false from the real anymore and Poles from all over the country are petrified. With rumors of World War III taking shape, people are even more panicked than when the Coronavirus Pandemic first started. The worst part of it is that no one knows how far the Russian government is willing to go. The Polish community went crazy – with some people even avoiding the outside world, being fearful for their lives. The gas prices started going up and some ATM’s were temporarily out of use, everything because of this nightmare. Many Poles even stopped watching TV because every channel features news about the war. Seeing updates and different speculations about how this conflict is going to end does more harm than good for the citizens.
People from outside of Europe aren’t necessarily approaching the matter as seriously as they should. Teenegers from other parts of the world, including America, think that since the war is going on in a different country, it doesn’t concern them. There have been a number of times when I heard people in the hallway making fun of the victims of this tragedy. In my opinion, it is highly insensitive and disrespectful as Ukraine is not only fighting for themselves – it is fighting to protect other countries as well. Everyone should feel obligated to help them not only because it is a human thing to do, but also because they have already sacrificed enough. As a Pole and as a person who is truly concerned about this conflict, I feel like it is my responsibility to do everything in my power to help. And you, as a community of young, powerful people can also make a difference.