Chloe Edwards, Photography Editor

Despite living in the United States most of her life, Ukrainian American student Christina Logvynyuk ’25 says that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine two years ago has turned her “world upside down.” 

Logvynyuk is not alone. 

In February 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine as a continuation of its invasion of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Three students spoke with the News about how the war has impacted them. 

“The war has taught me a great deal about resilience,” Logvynyuk, co-director of events at the Ukraine House, told the News. “Following the story of individual people putting their whole lives on pause to become soldiers or volunteers, because they have an understanding that they are fighting for something bigger than them, has been very impactful.”

War inspires urgency, takes toll on students

Logvynyuk said that since the start of the war, it has been difficult “making peace” with the fact that she gets to continue her studies as normal while students in Ukraine have to continue their education in the midst of violence or pause it altogether. 

This has caused her to reflect on the value of her education, she said, and has motivated her studies as she hopes to use her degree in the future to contribute to her country. 

“Someone will have to be working to rebuild various parts of the country,” she said. “Whether that is economically or literally working on urban landscapes, there is going to be so much work to do and there will need to be an educated young generation to do that.”

Oleksii Antoniuk ’24, the founder and former president of the Ukraine House, described the war as an “all-encompassing” issue.

He said that it creates a sense of urgency in his goals to support Ukraine now and in the future. 

“Back in the day, I would have entertained the thought of staying [in the United States] for a few years, getting an American experience and then coming back home,” he told the News. “Now, after graduation this May, I’m planning to go back home right away. And the war, even though it hasn’t changed the general direction of my thinking, it has given it urgency.”

President of the Ukraine House Daria Valska ’26 emphasized that every Ukrainian student at Yale is affected by the war, in various ways.

She said that, although it remains under-discussed, the war has taken a “huge” toll on student mental health. 

“The war has also changed my life in the sense that I became even more involved in everything Ukraine-related,” Valska added. “This added to the motivation of working to help Ukraine in any way I can.”

Ukraine House organizes events, fundraising for war

Since the beginning of the war, the Ukraine House has been organizing talks with leaders, social events and cultural events, as well as holding vigils and rallies to raise awareness of the brutality of the war.

“Our main goal with event planning is to amplify Ukrainian voices, who are working actively in various spheres to contribute to war efforts and to keep the student body active and informed,” Logvynyuk told the News.

She said that because the war has been going on for more than two years, some people are becoming “desensitized” to it. Valska characterized this as a product of war fatigue, in which people are becoming “numb to the emotional suffering.”

This forces the Ukraine House to actively come up with creative ways of maintaining attention among students on campus, according to Logvynyuk.

Leaders of the group have also been leading fundraising efforts to support Ukraine in the war. 

Antoniuk told the News that the Ukraine House has been fundraising for Ukraine since the beginning of the war, including technical support for soldiers, such as surveillance to allow soldiers to see deeper into the battlefield, as well as medical assistance and humanitarian assistance.

“Sometimes it is harder to attract people’s attention to the fundraiser but people have not stopped donating or donating less,” Valska told the News. “Support is still pretty strong among the student community.”

Antoniuk also mentioned that the Ukraine House has been lobbying the University on policies that are important for the Ukrainian community.

He said that specifically, students have been lobbying Yale admissions to increase the number of Ukrainian students admitted to the school.

Per Antoniuk, prior to 2022, there were two to three Ukrainian students per class admitted, but in last year’s cycle, there were approximately 10 Ukrainians admitted. 

The Ukraine House has also been lobbying for a Ukrainian language program on campus.

“The program has finally gotten traction and has started, and there is a Ukrainian language professor at Yale,” Antoniuk added. “I hope we helped at least a little bit to push it in this direction.”

Valska said that there are many ways students at Yale can support Ukraine House and its war efforts. 

She mentioned one way is to reach out to local representatives and advocate for Ukraine to show politicians that people are still engaged.

“Please try to stay as engaged as you can,” Valska said, referring to the student body. “Even if it means coming to the speaker events, contributing to the fundraisers, spreading the information on your social media or having conversations with your friends about Ukraine. It all matters.”

Feb. 24 marked the second anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Esma Okutan is the graduate schools reporter for the News. Originally from Istanbul, Turkey, she is a sophomore in Jonathan Edwards studying economics.