Nota Pemerhati: Masa-masa sukar di Kyiv apabila perang menandakan ulang tahun kedua

(SeaPRwire) –   KYIV – It was my seventh since the war began two years ago. And never have I felt a more somber mood in Kyiv and in the surroundings.

Gone was the surge of energy and enthusiasm of the first year. When Ukrainian forces craftily beat back lumbering Russian columns trying to take over Kyiv.

And then also skillfully staged a counteroffensive in the northeastern Kherson region.

And down south in Kherson. 

Also gone was the hope of the second year when vast amounts of U.S. and Western aid poured into Ukraine. And all anticipated a new major surge of Ukrainian troops that might have split the Russian occupying forces in two.

It never happened.

Which leads us to this third year. When a big chunk of Ukrainian real estate in the southeastern portion of the country… is making more inroads into Ukrainian-held land… as Western military aid… in particular U.S. aid… is very much up in the air.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made it very clear in a number of media appearances that without the $60 billion of weaponry now stuck on Capitol Hill, more Ukrainians would die.

And even with it… this year might be a tough slog as Russia both digs in and throws more troops into the fray.

That’s the battlefield survey. 

My own unscientific opinion polling came up with the same thing. People here are . They’ve already made many sacrifices. They are very worried they will have to make a lot more.

One young lady I spoke with at a Kyiv memorial told me “so many of my friends have died, so many friends have moved to another country, and for more than two years I can’t see anyone.”

Another, in tears, told me, “I pray for Ukraine every day… and I think you should help us.”

We took a trip to Bucha, one of the towns near Kyiv hit hardest early on by the Russians. It looked much better now. Streets clean. Buildings fixed up.  

But even those in charge admitted the improvements were only superficial.    

The mayor told us “on the outside you see it’s renovated… but inside it’s still hard.”

And the head priest told us, “The Russians were here just a short time, but we remember them vividly.”

The hardest thing I do every time I’m here is go to a cemetery outside of Kyiv. To feel the real impact of the war. In the six months since we’d last been there, 200 more military graves had been added.

We spoke with several families who were so shattered they didn’t mind speaking to us.

One was giving their lost 27-year-old soldier a 28th birthday party. “He was everything to me,” his widow told us.

Another family had to live with their son and husband missing for a year and half before it was confirmed he was dead.

The aunt of still another fallen soldier screamed her pain at the Russian invading forces. “Who do they think they’re liberating… what are they liberating?”

And one more mother, in a loud tearful scream, begged America to send more aid. “What are they waiting for,” she asked plaintively, “for all of us to die?”

At the hotel where we stay every time in Kyiv, the staff feel like family. One receptionist told me of her brother in the army having his hand injured. Another told me that at least they had electricity and water this winter. And another just sighed about the war seemingly without end.

No one I spoke with wants to give up. No one wants to call it quits.    

As the Kyiv mayor, former boxer Vitali Klitschko, told me, “Failure is not an option.”

And as Member of Parliament Kira Rudik told me, “We exist, we are here, we are alive, we are fighting.”

But even if says he has a plan for the future, no one knows exactly that is. More drones? More long-range missiles? A new call-up of troops to man freshly dug defensive lines?

No one knows because is still holding a lot of the cards. And he doesn’t seem to be ready to end his deadly game anytime soon.  

As he waits for the West to tire. Europe lately has been stepping up its backing. The big question for many people here is, what will the U.S. do? Will it continue to back Ukraine’s battle?

If U.S. help dries up…. most here acknowledge… that would be a game changer… for the worst.

And so the brave and courageous Ukrainians hang in there. And hope for the best… at this grimmest of times.

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Sektor: Top Story, Berita Harian

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