“In May, there were about ten bombardments. At night, people take refuge again in shelters. It’s the month of insomnia”

Paris, May 24

Dear All,

I am writing this letter to you after my return from Ukraine. Reunion at Kyiv station [Kiev, en ukrainien] with Sasha, her birthday party, the family meals, all of this already seems so distant to me, almost dreamlike. Since early May, rachists [contraction de « russes » et de « fascistes »] don’t stop firing: missiles and drones fly in the Ukrainian sky every two days. The anti-aircraft defense works miracles: it manages to neutralize almost all of them! I keep a very precise memory of the moments of attack, prostrate in the sofa bed of my sister. I can only say one thing: it’s absolutely scary.

One day when I was accompanying my grandmother Raïssa to the supermarket and it took us a long time to get out – she is 86 and walks very slowly – the siren started to sound and, inside me , I felt a huge sense of injustice. What have we done to make them want to eliminate a whole people? We returned to his apartment with heavy hearts. While Kyiv was so spring-like, with chestnut blossoms and lilacs everywhere. As if the city and nature were telling us: “Come on, courage, life always wins. »

In the streets, I heard many people talking in Russian. I can understand (but not accept) that some Russian-speaking Ukrainians don’t have the time, or the strength, to switch languages. But for me it is unacceptable to speak Russian at the moment. The Russian language was, for Putin [Olga et Sasha ont choisi de ne pas mettre de majuscule à « poutine », « russe » et « russie »]the first reason for the invasion of Crimea and Donbass, in 2014.

Read also: War in Ukraine: new explosions in kyiv; Ukrainian drones shot down near Russian city of Kursk

In this regard, during my trip, I had an exchange with my father which disturbed me: we were at his house, we were watching a program in which an extract from the speech of a Russian propagandist was broadcast. My father said to me: “Olga, do you hear how their Russian and ours are different? » It struck me, as if I suddenly understood something without really knowing what. In addition to our Ukrainian, there would be a Russian to us and another to them? Would the language I spoke since childhood still belong to me, since it is different from the one spoken in Russia? Since then, I have thought about it a lot. I believe that we must remember our history which binds us to them. To deny the fact that Russian is spoken in certain towns in Ukraine would amount to erasing those years when my country lived under the Russian yoke. Today, I understood that if we can share a language, that does not make us the same people.

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