COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Friday marks one year since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine started, a day that brings back scary memories for those in Ukraine, and for Ukrainians living in central Ohio.
Some say they can’t believe it’s already been a year. Others say it’s felt like longer.
“I just still can’t wrap my head around the fact at what was going on, I still cannot picture everything that was going on in those streets that I walked by or my school or my house or the venue where I got married,” Daryna Zaitseva said.
Zaitseva — a student at Capital University — is from Mariupol, a port city in the southeastern part of Ukraine, which has been heavily attacked throughout the war. Her mother, Oksana, is now with her in central Ohio. Both vividly remember when Russia’s attacks started.
“Feb. 24, 2022, is basically the day that put a big line in our lives before and after,” Zaitseva said, translating for her mother.
She called her mother in what were the early house of the morning in Ukraine.
“You just never thought it could happen in the 21st century,” Zaitseva said, translating for her mother.
The apartment they used to live in, Daryna’s old school, and her wedding venue have all been hit, she said. One of her best friends was killed.
“Those lives were taken, there’s no reason for that,” Zaitseva said. “There’s absolutely none and I think that’s what bothers me the most. The fact we can’t take anything back, just leading up to this day today, the last week I’ve been having such heavy thoughts about my friend.”
Zaitseva’s grandparents and younger brother have also joined her in central Ohio.
Her father and other grandparents have left Mariupol, but are still in Ukraine. She says she has hope because Ukraine is still standing, but just like she did a year ago, she feels Russia should have never started the war in the first place.
“It’s a lot to process, it’s hard to process. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to process that, and wrap my head around these facts and around these thoughts and around these emotions that I’m feeling,” Zaitseva said.