The news started coming in overnight Wednesday: after weeks of military buildup on the Ukrainian border, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared war on the former Soviet Republic, now an independent democracy and home to more than 40 million people. On Thursday, those citizens of Ukraine—and most of the rest of the world—were in shock and terror, many fleeing for safety and all wondering how far this unprovoked attack might go.
Regina Appatova is an ESL educator at Aiken New Tech High School in Cincinnati, who grew up in Ukraine and lived in Russia. We asked her to help us understand the conflict, the enduring bonds between the two countries, and what it’s been like this week for Americans like her with roots and loved ones in Eastern Europe. “It’s a nightmare,” she says—and no one knows how much worse the situation might get, before Putin gets what he wants.
- Nico Luginbill, Walnut Hills H.S.
- Joyeuse Muhorakeye, Aiken New Tech H.S.
- Pawan Rai, Aiken H.S.
- Tasnim Saad, Aiken H.S.
- Syriene Djakata, Aiken H.S.
- Antonia R. Willis, Taft H.S.
- Bryan Aguilera, Virtual H.S.
- Lael Ingram, Walnut Hills H.S.
Conversation recorded on Zoom Feb. 24, 2022, with D&Z producer Julie Coppens
Map illustration by Kirill Makarov/Shutterstock
Here’s a link to NPR’s ongoing coverage of the Ukraine invasion: https://www.npr.org/live-updates/ukraine-russia-invasion-putin
Live updates from The New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/live/2022/02/24/world/russia-ukraine-putin
And here’s a link to a story from WVXU reporter Becca Costello about how Cincinnati is responding to the crisis:
I told my wife, Regina how powerful this particular podcast is. Such a meaningful forum to involve students in such a monumental darkest hour crisis. I truly believe this podcast is a shining moment in Regina’s life. Horribly sad issue, but the power from involving youth is indescribable. The host did an amazing job during the podcast and I assume in organizing the podcast. This podcast is a blessing for the Ukraine and everyone. Let us all hope and pray that the evil Beast is removed from the Ukraine and peace can be restored and maintained in the Ukraine.
Thank you, Brad, and heartfelt thanks again to Regina–I feel so honored to be part of a conversation like this, and to have a platform for sharing it with the world. It meant a lot to our students, too. We’re all keeping the people of Ukraine in our thoughts, only wish we could do more.
Absolutely Julie. Exceptional job all the way around! Would be great to hear another podcast about the Ukraine.
I noticed that Russia is attacking Ukraine
I think why would they do that.
I wonder who will win and will they attack the USA.