Three Stories of Getting to Ukraine
Filmmakers, Firefighters, and a Nurse Find Ways to Help Ukrainians at War
By Brian O’Dea, Frank Vilaca, Nick Welsh, and Tyler Hayden | August 18, 2022
Six months ago, when Russian leader Vladimir Putin launched his “special military operation” against Ukraine, NATO countries pondered how hard to push back without triggering nuclear escalation. Fast-forward to the present and the United Nations is now expressing “grave concern” that Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant — also the biggest in Europe — has become engulfed in hostilities. Last Saturday, one of the six reactors was shelled. On the same day, a dry-cask storage unit was also hit. Both sides, naturally, have blamed the other. That’s perhaps the most inflammatory development in the past week for a military conflict that shows no sign of letting up.
Russia continues to hold roughly 20 percent of the Ukrainian land mass, mostly along eastern region where many ethnic Russians live. But Ukraine, now armed with advanced missile systems from the west, has managed to blow up eight Russian warplanes, one Russian ammunition depot, four bridges critical to maintaining Russia’s strained supply lines, and barracks for mercenaries hired by the Putin regime. Everyone is suffering. Estimates vary — and all are suspect — but it appears that as many as 500 Russians are now being killed or wounded a day. As many as 200 Ukrainians become casualties of war with each passing day. The scope and scale of the refugee crisis remains too vast to count, but the United Nations estimates 12 million Ukrainians have fled their homes since the Russian invasion in February. Of those, five million reportedly have left Ukraine and seven million have relocated within its borders.
Not long ago, Santa Barbara maintained Sister City ties with Yalta, one of Ukraine’s most historically significant cities. Those ties had muted with the passing of time. Even so, Santa Barbara and Santa Barbarans still find a way to reach out to Ukraine, as the following articles highlight.