The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

The University of Pittsburgh's Daily Student Newspaper

The Pitt News

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Join our newsletter

Get Pitt and Oakland news in your inbox, three times a week.

9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
9-year-old boy who caught McCutchen’s 300th HR reveals significant milestones of his own
By Aidan Kasner, Senior Staff Writer • 7:31 pm

Two years in, the Pittsburgh community reflects on the war in Ukraine

A+woman+prays+during+a+rally+Downtown+in+support+of+Ukraine+on+Feb.+27%2C+2022.
Pamela Smith | Contributing Editor
A woman prays during a rally Downtown in support of Ukraine on Feb. 27, 2022.

Feb. 24 marks two years since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In the time since, tensions have escalated, and thousands of people have experienced displacement and the impact of the war — including in Pittsburgh.

Oxana Bayer, a Fulbright visiting scholar at Duquesne University, lives in Ukraine with her friends and family when not in Pittsburgh. She said she has noticed societal changes in attitudes and behavior after the conflict.

“I see that people get united and they act as a unity — as a whole — because otherwise, it’s impossible to be effective in the state of war with all the problems that exist in post-Soviet Ukraine or this post-Soviet heritage of distrust to institutions or even one another,” Bayer said. “When people trust one another deeply, we may send our money even to someone who we hardly know, hoping that this person will spend this money on some needed undertaking.” 

Anna Libikh, a first-year pharmacy student and president of the Ukrainian Culture Club, said she aims to promote Ukrainian culture within her club while emphasizing the importance of remembering the ongoing conflict. 

“Around most of Ukraine, there are sirens every day,” Libikh said. “People have to go down to basements to hide, so it is still the reality, but people are getting used to living with this reality. It’s sad to say, but not much has changed within the past two years. I still have relatives in Ukraine, and somehow they’re just getting used to living in those conditions.”

Julia Timmons, a master’s student at CMU, said the Ukraine-Russia conflict is much older and became more “relevant” in 2013 during Euromaidan — the protests that erupted after former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych decided not to sign the European Union agreement. 

Timmons said she had previously told her classmates that she was Russian because it was the language she spoke. 

“It was all kind of happening at once,” Timmons said. “It was all of a sudden. My father had this very staunch stance that we are not Russian, and we will not identify as Russian. That was really profound because over the next like two, three years of high school, you know, I had to rebrand myself.”

Timmons said she did not know that she had been “misrepresenting” herself for years. She said it became important for her to identify as Ukrainian after the conflict began in 2022, and she learned to restructure how she approached the conversation about her ethnicity. She said it is difficult to explain to people that she speaks Russian but identifies as Ukrainian. 

“It doesn’t make me any less Ukrainian,” Timmons said. “So, my parents weren’t taught Ukrainian because it was a language that was seen as dirty, ugly, poor, and so in the Soviet Union, it wasn’t used. So, it affected my personal identity a lot. When the full-scale invasion happened, I was an adult — a college student living in Pittsburgh. It was very much on me to do something about it or be loud about it.” 

Timmons said most “modern and young” Americans are showing continued support towards Ukraine. She said it is clear that war crimes have been committed, but it is important to examine those who have been “indoctrinated” into supporting Russia. 

“You have to look at the people who have family in Russia who are so much in a vacuum of propaganda,” Timmons said. “Especially early in the conflict when, you know, Putin’s stance was ‘We are here to eliminate the neo-Nazis,’ and then people on this side of the Western world were like, ‘What are you talking about?’” 

Libikh said it is hard to say when the conflict will end. 

“Ukraine would not be still standing without the aid from different countries, especially the United States,” Libikh said. “I really hope that they’ll continue to support Ukraine financially and with ammunition as well.” 

Libikh said students can help Ukrainian efforts by volunteering at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Institute, which is based in Carnegie. 

“We have been collaborating with volunteering organizations that are based in Pittsburgh to help Ukrainian refugees and also help Ukrainians who live in Ukraine right now,” Libikh said. “I’ve also helped online to teach students English, so not necessarily related to helping out the army but just bringing the spirit and helping out.”

About the Contributor
Khushi Rai, Senior Staff Writer