Delusional, hateful, horrifying Russian President Vladimir Putin has invaded Ukraine. Most recently, Putin called for the Ukrainian army to overthrow its own leadership, describing Ukrainian leaders as “drug addicts” and “neo-Nazis” who have taken the Ukrainian people “hostage,” as reported by The Guardian. (Among other factors, neo-Nazism is a serious problem in Russia, though, of course, Putin doesn’t seem to care about that.)
People in the region are not accepting Putin’s violent, unnecessary invasion, nor his televised calls to action. We’ve seen reports of people protesting in the streets in Russia, for example, risking arrest almost immediately. People within Ukraine are protesting as well, as evidenced by a now-viral video of a woman standing up to heavily armed Russian soldiers with some deeply poignant words. Let’s check out the video and context below.
As captured in a video widely circulated by Internews Ukraine (an independent news source based out of Ukraine), a woman is seen speaking to a Russian soldier. She appears to offer him sunflower seeds.
“Who are you?” The woman asks (as translated by The Independent) armed soldiers during Russia’s invasion on Thursday.
“We have exercises here,” a soldier replies. “Please go away.”
The woman clarifies that they’re Russian, then says, “So what the f—k are you doing here?” She goes on to call them “occupants” and “fascists.”
“What the f—k are you doing on our land with all these guns?” She tells the soldiers to take some of her sunflower seeds—sunflowers being the national flower of Ukraine—saying they can put the seeds in their pockets, “so at least sunflowers will grow when you all lie down here.”.
Truly an icon.
As of now, both the European Union and the United States have announced sanctions against Russia. Weapons are being passed out to civilians in Ukraine to help protect their country. Here in the United States, advocates have been putting the (important, necessary) pressure on the Biden administration to allow Ukrainian refugees and provide relief.
Things in Ukraine are undeniably very bleak: families are hiding in shelters, saying goodbye to loved ones, and for some generations, reliving some serious trauma. But as highlighted on social media, there is still hope.
For example, a number of allies have lit buildings with colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Athletes across the globe are also issuing calls for support in Ukraine, which is especially meaningful as it may highlight the reality of the situation for folks who aren’t otherwise following the news.
As are groups protesting in solidarity around the world.
Reprinted with permission from Daily Kos