TESTIMONIALS. War in Ukraine: in kyiv, a couple torn apart by conflict

Oleg, in his sixties, is a painter. He tries to order his canvases scattered in the small living room transformed into a studio of his apartment in kyiv. He does not budge: the Russian army is legitimate, even when it sends missiles to kyiv, its own city.

In his mind, it is not Russia that is trying to invade Ukraine but the reverse. “250,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been amassed along the Donbass border, he says. So Ukraine was preparing to invade Russia. A lot of people think like me, but they’re afraid to say it.” In a speech very inspired by Russian propaganda, Oleg asserts that the United States is behind this fratricidal war. They seek to weaken Russia. “Europe and all Western countries have provoked this war between Ukraine and Russia to destroy Russia and seize its wealth, he saidI‘Europe is not independent, it follows the United States.

The bombardments on the Mariupol district? “fake news”, assures Oleg against all evidence and despite the evidence. Even if on the other side of the landing, his wife and daughter think the opposite. “We have an ongoing civil war with my wife. For him, it’s simple: She’s just misinformed. She doesn’t want to see reality.” believes Oleg.

“Devoured by propaganda”

Cohabitation has become too complicated. So mother and daughter moved to the other side of the landing, to a small kitchen lent by friends. “I don’t even have a word”, says Olga, also in her sixties. Tears roll down her cheeks. “Yesterday we had another terrible argument. I wanted to leave, but a father is important for a child.”

More importantly for Olga: “I can’t throw him out like this. I don’t want to put him in danger. His opinions hurt me, so imagine how much they might hurt others.” Subir this man to protect him, “a good man” but “devoured by propaganda” summarizes Olga. She concludes: “He’s my daughter’s father… I can’t put him on the street like this”.

War in Ukraine: in kyiv, a torn couple – Report by Maurine Mercier


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