Kyiv, Ukraine – In the early months of the war, Yulia Fedotovsky stumbled upon a coping mechanism to help her sleep at night: She scrolled through Telegram every evening and looked at pictures of burnt dead Russian soldiers and explosives.
She said looking at the pictures initially helped her feel safe. But now with the conflict continuing, she said she was feeling overwhelmed by the war. You try to avoid the news and no longer get gratification from pictures.
“I was scrolling through Telegram every evening before going to bed, and it was hard to fall asleep otherwise,” said Ms Fedotovsky, 32, a PR manager for an IT company. She added, “These days, I’ve realized and accepted that I could die at any moment, and so I’m just living my life.”
Nearly five months into a bloody war in which Russia is steadily making territorial gains, many Ukrainians remain angry and defiant.
The weekend’s fall of Lysichansk, which handed over the hotly contested eastern Luhansk province to Russia, was the latest in a string of heavy blows including some of the worst attacks on civilian targets since the Russian invasion in late February. And a missile attack took place on a shopping center in the city of Kremenchuk, leaving at least 20 people dead. A raid on a town near Odessa killed at least 21 people. The bombing of an apartment building in the capital tore apart the fragile security shell of that city.
The expulsion of Russian troops from the capital at the end of March gave Ukrainians a strong sense of pride in their country and their army, and hoped that victory would be swift. With the war showing little sign of abating, people are becoming more angry about the losses and expressing frustration that the Ukrainian government is downplaying the challenges ahead in an effort to raise morale.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who astonished the world with his design and signature green shirt, continues to address Ukrainians in his nightly speeches full of firmness and defiance.
“Something needs to be done about the population’s information policy,” Sergei Neretyn, a journalist and former deputy head of the Ukrainian State Film Agency, wrote on Facebook.
He noted that Ukrainian officials justified the withdrawal of their forces from the eastern city of Severodonetsk by saying that it would help defend Lysechansk, its last major stronghold in the Luhansk region. Then Lysychansk fell.
“Almost every day we give out weapons, they get stronger, and the footage shows how they quietly smash the enemy,” he wrote. “How should we perceive information about our future achievements, strength, and supply of weapons?” Asked. “Read between the lines or take them seriously?”
The war has also caused a massive humanitarian crisis, driven millions of people to flee their homes and severely affected the livelihoods of Ukrainians.
Only 5 percent of Ukrainians reported living comfortably on their current income, according to a survey published this week by the National Democratic Institute.
However, the vast majority of Ukrainians nevertheless have strong confidence in the armed forces as well as Mr. Zelensky, according to the poll.
Svetlana Kolodi, 34, a crowdfunding expert, said she had been raising money to support Ukrainian soldiers and had given in to the fact that the war would continue beyond the fall.
And few Ukrainians are interested in a settlement with Russia. The NDI poll found that Ukrainians are “clearly uninterested in land-for-peace”. Eighty-nine percent of survey respondents said the only acceptable scenario was to restore all the territories occupied by Russia, including Crimea, which Moscow annexed in 2014.
“There is no middle ground with Russia,” said Marianna Horchenko, a 37-year-old dental worker from Kyiv. “Not after all the people have been killed.”
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