Local View: Pray for victory

There are those who would pray for peace in Ukraine.

A toy is pictured that belonged to a young Ukrainian girl who was killed during the Russian invasion. Contributed / Ginka Tarnowski

Like most 16-year-old girls, Katya kept a diary. “I once fell in love with a boy, but he didn’t fall in love with me, and I thought it hurt.”

Unlike most American teenage girls, Katya had the misfortune to experience Russian occupation.

“It turned out that it hurts to see your mother die in front of you. My brother keeps coming up to mom, saying, ‘Mommy, don’t sleep, you will freeze.’ We will never visit her grave. She has remained in the damp and dark basement. We went to the toilet, slept, ate leftovers in the same basement.”

Hunger is global in the Russian zone of occupation.

“Once Uncle Kolya caught a pigeon, and we fried it and ate it. And then we all vomited. Mom held on to the last, three days before our evacuation she died. I told my brother that she was asleep and should not be awakened. But he seems to have understood it all.”


In the Russian zone, no good deed goes unrewarded.

“Our neighbor died, and we could not carry her outside, and she began to smell. When it got quiet, Uncle Kolya carried her out, and himself got killed on a trip wire. ... Corpses stink so much. They were everywhere. I covered my brother's eyes with my mother's scarf so that he would not see this.”

There are those who would pray for peace in Ukraine. Unfortunately for Katya, the Russians have already killed her faith.

“I no longer believe in your God. Had he existed, we wouldn't have suffered so much. ... The priest said my mom (is) now serving God, but it'd be better if she were to serve him here, raising us.”

When you speak with Ukranians on the front lines, it’s hard not to have your faith shaken.

"Наприкінці березня, в одному із бомбосховищ Азовсталі (Маріуполь, Україна), мені подарувала дівчинка рочків 10-12 м'яку іграшку - свого гусьонка! Сьогодні мені повідомили, що на днях вона загинула під час чергового авіаційного бомбардування росіян ... Вибач, малеча, що не встигли тебе евакуювати та дати змогу знову радіти життю."

"At the end of March, in one of the bomb shelters of Azovstalí (Mariupol, Ukraine), I was given by a girl of 10-12 a soft toy — her goosey! Today I was informed that she was killed in another Russian airstrike the other day. ... Sorry, little one, for not being able to free you and let you enjoy life again."
(Source: Ivan Bogdan, Ukraine ; Translation: Ginka Tarnowski)

To the well-intentioned who would pray for peace, I have one word: Don’t. Pray for victory.


Ginka Tarnowski

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