From Electric Lit:
When I was approached to write this article, Ukraine’s battles for sovereignty were in the eastern parts of the country against Russian-backed separatists, where they have been since February 2014. In a few short days since, the Russian troops that had amassed around the border of Ukraine for months invaded the democratic country and initiated air strikes and attacks on Ukrainian forces and civilians—hundreds of lives have already been lost. The Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy has refused to leave the capital of Kyiv, telling the United States government, “I need ammunition, not a ride.”
The world now watches as Ukrainian civilians take up arms alongside their army and hold “cocktail parties” where they make boxes of Molotov cocktails that will be used on Russian forces entering their cities. The mayor of Kyiv, Vitali Klitschko and his brother, Wladimir, two boxing champions, have said they too will take up arms alongside the men and women, young and elderly, who are prepared to defend their homeland.
Ukrainians have long-prepared for this moment. Their rich land has been invaded many times before and their people have suffered innumerable losses for generations. The Ukrainian language and culture has nearly been eradicated at multiple points in their long history, and they’ve been fighting an active war for nearly ten years against a Russian president whose intent is erasure. Today, many people around the world are witnessing for the first time the immeasurable patriotism, loyalty, courage, and grit that makes Ukranians so singular.
In order to write I Will Die in a Foreign Land compassionately and correctly, I knew I had to become a de-facto scholar in Ukrainian history and culture. I started the first draft in 2016, two years after the Euromaidan protests in Kyiv and the Russian annexation of Crimea and Donbas. I relied heavily on the work of a few dedicated journalists and incredible documentaries. The deeper I went into the story, the more realized I was not going to be able to simply write about the Maidan events—I found I had a responsibility to contextualize Euromaidan and Donbas for an American audience that would be largely unfamiliar with Ukrainian-Russian relations
Link to the rest at Electric Lit