February 24th, 2023 marks one year since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, a war that in truth began in 2014, when Russia annexed Crimea and sent troops into eastern Ukraine. Its aims then were the same as they are now: to bring an end to a free, independent, and democratic Ukraine. But today, just as in 2014, Ukraine stands strong in defense of its sovereignty and its culture.
But Ukraine does not stand alone. Today, Ukraine knows that it can depend on the support of allies the world over, who refuse to abandon it in the face of a relentless and vicious assault. Since February 24th, entire cities have been razed to the ground, untold thousands of children have been kidnapped and deported to Russia, and countless civilians—ordinary people simply trying to go about their lives—have been displaced or killed, their bodies buried under the rubble of collapsed apartment buildings or dumped in unmarked graves by occupying forces.
Meanwhile, Russia continues its campaign of drone attacks and cruise missile raids on critical civilian infrastructure in a deliberate attempt to deprive Ukrainians, whose only “crime” is simply existing, of heat, water, and electricity.
But Ukraine is fighting back and it is winning. It is able to do so in part because the American people continue to call upon their elected officials to support the provision of much-needed weapons that have allowed Ukraine to liberate cities like Kherson and push the front away from Kharkiv.
Americans have also banded together to help Ukraine in other ways: they have sent medical supplies, winter clothes, and sleeping bags for soldiers; they have taken in refugees; and they have raised millions of dollars to provide food, shelter, rebuild schools, and help orphans.
Countless volunteers have gone to Ukraine to assist in whatever ways they can: delivering aid, teaching students, providing medical services, and reconstruction.
The war is not over, and the campaign to liberate all of Ukraine from Russian occupation will not be easy. But it can and will be won. In the meantime, Ukraine still needs our help! Please continue to call upon your representatives to provide the Ukrainians with the weapons they need to resist this unjust invasion.
And remember that Ukraine is a nation of 44 million people—ordinary people who will need our solidarity and support when this terrible war is over. The traumas inflicted over the past year, which affect everyone from veterans to civilian volunteers; men, women, and children; refugees to retirees, cannot be understated. For some, their houses have become air raid shelters. For others, their houses have been reduced to rubble by cruise missile strikes. And for many, the cities that they once called home simply do not exist anymore.
The Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan (CRC) would like to take this opportunity to thank all our friends, neighbors, and fellow Michiganders who have stood by us since February 24th, 2022. Your support has not only given us comfort in these trying times, but it has also made a real, material, and lasting difference for the people of Ukraine. Thank you. And Slava Ukraini!
Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee of Michigan