Ukrainians in Chicago reflect on a year of full-scale war - Chicago Reader

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🗣️ “I can’t deny that I’m living in, like, two parallel realities...I’m physically present here. But I’m mentally present in Ukraine as well.'-Lisa Korneichuk on fleeing her hometown in the Ukraine in 2014.|✍️ unlistenmusic👇

It has been nearly a year since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine. For Ukrainians or anyone with loved ones living in the sovereign nation, every week since then has probably felt like a lifetime. The war has rapidly changed the shape of geopolitics amid existential questions about the future of democracy at a time of rising authoritarianism. Most immediately, it spawned a humanitarian crisis that continues to escalate.

That influx has inspired many people in Chicagoland, in and outside of the Ukrainian community, to open their doors to Ukrainians as they got their bearings in a new country. “Americans who don’t have ties to Ukraine, they were calling and volunteering their apartment for free, or they’d say, ‘My father passed away, and there’s a whole house that we’re not using. . . .’ Eventually those dried up, and it’s been more referrals for inexpensive housing,” Bandriwsky said.

While some Ukrainians in the Chicago area are settling into life here, others are dreaming of returning to their home country to support the resistance effort from the ground. In September, she and her husband traveled to Europe to reconnect with family and friends, but due to Ukraine’s martial law policy, she had to cross into Kyiv alone while her husband met with relatives living in Prague. “Seeing people who we had left in the country when everything was fine, seeing them again was very important for us and also, I think, for them to know we are still here and we somehow want to share this time with them,” she said.


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