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One Year of War on Ukraine

One year ago, 42 million human lives were interrupted at 3:40 a.m. in late winter, when the genocidal Russian mafia state attacked Ukraine. I am listening right now to the Polish internet radio, Nowy Świat (New World). In addition to the usual superb music, they are providing a broad coverage of the conflict from the human and animal welfare side. Today they also aired a Ukrainian rap song "Fuck Putin." 

Civilian homes are regularly destroyed by the Russians. Source: The Ukrainian Red Cross.

A year ago, 10 million Ukrainians crossed the Polish border. The Polish civil society self-organized instantly, not waiting for the government and NGOs to step in. It is important to understand that at the peak this nation of 38 million people received and housed 4 million Ukrainians, while others continued west. Ordinary people had let refugees into their apartments, and gave them their second, rental or vacation homes. All on their own dime. 

Thousands of Poles drove into Ukraine in their cars to transport back the sick and homeless people, and thousands of displaced or abandoned animals. Today many of these people and most animals still live in Polish homes. The report about animals so stressed out that they almost died brought me to tears. Some of them barely recovered after one year. One little Colie dog, for example, still cannot travel by car, where he throws up from stress. He travelled to Poland for 30 hours non stop by car. He only feels safe when both of his new owners are together in one room.

Contrast this Polish attitude with the utter selfishness of too many Republicans in the US. When criminals are killing innocent people, women and children, you do not air your grievances, wait and equivocate. Ask yourselves this question: Scaling up to the US population, would Americans let 35 millions of refugees into their homes? 

Today, in Poland they are raising money for the freezing and hungry Ukrainian children under the banner: "So that teddy bear will not be cold." Remember this. You might donate to the Ukrainian Red Cross, where we donate, 

Since I am scientist, I would be remiss not to mention what has happened to science in Ukraine. 

A year into Russia’s war on Ukraine, Kseniia Minakova is rebuilding her research laboratory and her career. Her lab was destroyed after a Russian missile hit the National Technical University Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute. (Credit: Mykhailo Kirichenko) 
From a recent Nature briefing:
Science is bleeding in Ukraine. “I make a major effort to continue doing science. It’s difficult not only physically but also because of this psychological pressure. To do something creative you need a peaceful time,” says chemist Igor Komarov. He’s one of the around 90% of researchers who have remained in Ukraine, determined to keep the country’s science alive — despite blackouts, lost funds and the constant threat of bombings that have already damaged or destroyed more than one-quarter of the country’s institutes. Many scientists fill any free time with more work, or volunteer for their local communities. “The best idea for living is to have no free time,” says physicist Kseniia Minakova. 
Ukrainian science needs the world. When Russia installed a puppet government in the Donbas in the east of Ukraine, geneticist Svitlana Arbuzova and her colleagues moved their state-of-the-art facility, the Eastern-Ukrainian Center for Medical Genetics and Prenatal Diagnosis, to Mariupol. In March 2022, soon after the full Russian invasion, the institute’s new home — and the staff’s own apartments — were destroyed. “The courage that Ukrainian people are demonstrating is beyond words, and not only those on the battlefields,” writes Arbuzova. “The first priority should be a full assessment of the state of educational and scientific infrastructure, and collaboration with international partners to restore what has been destroyed.” 

By the way, shooting innocent civilians has long been a favorite target practice of the Red Army, KGB troops, and now the Russian army. Savages will be savages, and little has changed since they were shooting women in my home town, Gliwice (then Gleiwitz), in January 1945.  My father, a student militiaman, had a machine gun fight with the Russian marauders (a.k.a. convalescents in the superior ex-German hospitals) in 1946.  They were trying to rob, rape and kill female students. My father was expelled from the university, only to be reinstated after many eyewitness testimonies and student protests. 

In 1946, the Soviet and Polish communist grip on power in Poland was still tenuous. Mass executions of political opposition, gulags, prisoners to dig canal Volga-Don, and the Soviet concentration camps in Poland began mostly later. For example in my home town, Gliwice, a German concentration camp affiliated with Auschwitz was adapted to hold Silesians and others. During the war, the German Gestapo officer, who lived with his family in what later became my beautiful home on the outskirts of Gliwice, shot and killed a prisoner escapee from that camp. My older Silesian neighbors saw this crime and told me the story. My beloved Silesian nanny, Auntie Mila, was a widow of a Silesian miner who worked in a German coal mine. Silesians were not Germans nor were they Poles. Post 1945, this gave the Russians a free license to hunt and kill them. By some estimates, over 140,000 Silesians were murdered by the Russians and their Polish communist stooges. The Volga-Don canal was very efficient in this respect. As far as I know, almost no Silesians deported there ever came back. My auntie Mila told me much later that for the starved, thirsty Polish prisoners the expected survival time was 3-4 days.

Iryna, whose decomposing corpse is shown below, was one of many murdered by the Russians in Bucha.  She is the blond woman in the second row on the right in the composite photo at the bottom of this post.

Iryna Filkina (age 52) was shot by Russian soldiers when riding her bicycle through Bucha to get home. Iryna's body was recognized later by a makeup artist who painted her nails in bright red. 

P.S. (02/27/2023) So, it turns out that in addition to Aleksei Navalny, who is clinging to life in a Russian turma, there are a few Russians worldwide, who are not cowards and/or slaves.
 During an appeal of his sentence, Aleksei Navalny appeared in a Moscow court via video link. Credit: Alexander Nemenov/Agence France-Presse. Source: NYT.

This is what Nicolas Kristof wrote about Navalny in the New York Times: "If Vladimir Putin has left you despising Russians as brutes, cowards or warmongers, consider a tall, ailing man locked in an isolation cell in Russia." 

And then there is the Russian diaspora that took to the streets to protest the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Russians protesting in Tbilisi on February 24, 2023.

The Eiffel Tower in  my beloved Paris was illuminated with the colors of the Ukrainian flag on Thursday, February 23, 2023. Credit Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA, via Shutterstock. 


  1. So how much money have you sent, dear Professor?

  2. We send $1000 per donation. We also do Doctors w/o Borders and the Swiss Red Cross

  3. Here is a Forbes article on where to donate:

    I just donated to the Ukrainian Red Cross so the link works.


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