For many individuals, the fighting has been difficult, but in LILA, the conflict has primarily affected and shocked the Russian and Ukrainian communities.
By Siloé Bonnet and Axel Szlasa – 6th grade.
“My great-grandma has woken up to the sounds of bombs from Belarus several times, and is worried from what’s happening on the streets”, 9th grader Ariadna Dikkers-Vorontsova says. Andrew Sobol, LILA’s director of athletics, has a Ukrainian background. “I was able to meet many different people working in Kyiv, many Ukrainians, many non-Ukrainians, all there working, and of course; My relatives”, he says.
We are currently in the third month of this violence, which has displaced at least 13 million people and claimed the lives of 46,000. 12,000 people have had non-fatal injuries, and at least 2,000 structures have been destroyed. The overall property damage, or how much money each structure has lost, is $565 billion. These enormous figures cover the entire war since February 28th.
“It can be very personal at times”
“I have many relatives who are there, in Ukraine. I have Ukrainian relatives in Russia, who worked there when the economy wasn’t so good, in the early 2000s, and they’re affected by it”, continues Mr. Sobol. He is not the only one in the LILA community who has family in Russia. “Yes, I have an aunt who lives in Russia and she is struggling because she does not want the war to continue, but she still loves her country”, explained Ulfile Barsegian Launey in French, a 6th grader. Ariadna Dikkers-Vorontsova also has family in Russia. “Though my mom isn’t nearly in the same or even similar circumstances, she has been undergoing a lot of stress, constantly worrying about her old friends back in Russia, and most importantly, her grandma”, she explains.
More personally, the three people we interviewed were affected by this conflict. “I have some American friends who were forced to leave the country because of the war, and I have some friends who, unfortunately, have to fight. It can be very personal at times, but, I think what makes it more real is that we can live it through the media and social media”, adds Mr. Sobol. “I think it should be illegal, what the president of Russia is doing and Ukraine should make its own decisions,” says Ulfile about Ukraine. “The Ukraine-Russia conflict hasn’t had a major impact on me personally, but has caused some stress around the house, and people asking me if I support Putin,” tells Ariadna.