If the Trump Administration needed a powerful reminder of Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine, this is it.
Mourners on Kyiv’s Independence Square pay their last respects to 7 Ukrainian servicemen, killed in battle hours after the first phone call between US President Donald Trump and Kremlin leader Vladimir Putin. The youngest who died was 23.
Russian hybrid forces first stepped up attacks on January 28, using GRAD rockets and other weapons. Their aim, the city of Avdiivka. Many see the escalation as the test of US President Donald Trump’s policy towards Russia and Ukraine.
Russia’s war in eastern Ukraine has claimed the lives of over 10,000 soldiers and civilians. The UN also estimates that another 23,000 people have been injured. But with these sorts of statistics, it’s easy to forget about the human element of this conflict. The people who perhaps left home one day and never came back and it’s these sorts of stories that are a constant reminder of the war that’s happening on Europe’s Eastern border.
Dmytro Overchenko was one of the Ukrainian soldiers who lost their lives in this latest Russian offensive. Just a week ago, he celebrated his birthday – he died aged 27. The cameraman who filmed this video said he was warm and positive, traits that shone on the screen. He was only too happy to give a tour of the front line to at least one Western film crew.
Thousands of people came to central Kyiv to bid an emotional final farewell, kneeling to pay their respects. Many were inconsolable with grief as military standard bearers carried the coffins through the crowd.
The escalation of fighting in Avdiivka was condemned worldwide.
But seemingly absent from the US State Department’s statement – any mention of Russia’s involvement in the war in eastern Ukraine. Instead – it said the U.S was quote ‘deeply concerned’ and demanded an immediate ceasefire and full access for observers from the Organization for the Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The international community is now watching closely to see how the White House will react. The war in Ukraine may no longer be in the international headlines, but for Ukrainians, it remains painfully real.