The Russian invasion of Ukraine began on the 24th February, 2022.
“I’ll never forget that night,” Olesya Khromeychuk tells New Lines magazine’s Amie Ferris-Rotman, as she looks back on it almost a year later. A historian and the director of the Ukraine Institute London, Khromeychuk says that her shock soon turned to defiance and determination. “We were all prepared for an escalation. We expected it to happen.”
The invasion, she points out, was not the beginning. It was the culmination of centuries of repression and eight years of war — a war which started when Russia began arming proxy forces in the Donbas region, in response to the overthrow of the Kremlin-backed Yanukovych regime during the 2014 Maidan revolution.
“We were all prepared for an escalation. We expected it to happen.”
“My brother was the first one who warned me of it when he returned to the frontline after his first deployment,” she says. “He was absolutely certain that it was going to escalate. All of my veteran friends said the same thing. It was just a matter of time.” Yet Khromeychuk’s brother never lived to see it. He was killed in action in 2017, five years before his prediction came tragically true.
He became the subject of her book, The Death of a Soldier Told by His Sister. “I wrote it in order to try and raise awareness about this forgotten war,” she recalls. At the time of his death, the conflict had faded from view in the eyes of the rest of the world.
“It took a full-scale war for the world to actually discover Ukraine.”
Produced by Joshua Martin