RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The Ukrainian people show no signs of slowing down in their fight to defend their home country.
Over the last few months, Durham documentary filmmaker Steve Boston has helped CBS 17 hear from those who remain in Ukraine and from those who are helping refugees. As fighting intensifies in the east, just how long could the war between Ukraine and Russia last?
Volodymyr Omelian, the former Minister of Infrastructure spoke to Boston virtually while wearing his battle fatigues.
“It depends on Russia, it depends on how exhausted they are and definitely depends if there is (an) embargo, full embargo on trade with Russia is imposed by the West,” said Omelian. Omelian also emphasized the vital need for the west to supply weapons.
Current minister Volodymyr Ariev agreed with Omelian.
“Our Ukrainian military forces now, they are working at the maximum of what they can do having the current military equipment,” said Ariev. In the meantime, bordering countries like Poland continue to see millions of refugees. Some, though, have headed back to Ukraine, according to one Polish volunteer, Kaya.
“They cannot stay for such a long time without their families. It’s too devastating and at some point, this uncertainty is worse than the lack of security,” she said.
While those who remain in Poland far outnumber those who go back, the reason women are returning to Ukraine is nothing short of tragic.
“It’s really sad because some of them also go back there to bury their kin, friends, children. So it’s really shattering,” said Kaya. Kaya also said many refugees are adapting the best they can. “They’re outside with their families. But they walk, they go to cafes.”
Kaya said Ukrainians, as a form of gratitude, have also been spending time in local parks and green spaces working to keep them clean.
Ukrainians have been resilient and resolute. Their successful sinking of a Russian warship proved to be an instant morale booster.
“It shows once again that Ukrainians are not only strong to fight land armies but we are also good in fighting in the sea and in the air. Definitely, if we had sophisticated weapons, it would be much easier,” said Omelian.
Ariev reiterated the plea for arms.
“We are really in vital need of assistance of the aid–military aid from the world,” he said.