Two Columbus women are watching the events unfold in Ukraine very closely. One of them, Galina Shehane, was born in Ukraine and still has family there. The other, Dr. Anya Laneuskaya Lainas, was born in Belarus. Neither wants this war.

 “I believe the fight of Ukrainians against Russian aggression has been compared to the fight between David and Goliath. This is an unequal match of military power. This is not only an attack on (a) sovereign  country but this is an attack on the whole democratic civilization by (a) power-hungry maniac that is willing to erase everything in his path,” said Galina Shehane, native of Ukraine.

“People don’t want war. No one wants war. Russians don’t want war. Belarussians don’t want war. Ukrainians don’t, but the presidents don’t care. So whatever is happening there, a lot of nations are going to suffer. In the 21st century no country should take away no other country’s land. This is just wrong,” said Dr. Anya Laneuskaya Lainas, native of Belarus.

Both women say they want their countries to maintain their freedom, but the presidents of Russia and Belarus are usurping the will of the people. Belarus has close ties with Russia. Its president Alexander Lukashenko, whose reelection in 2020 sparked massive protests,  has admitted to allowing Russian missile launchers stationed in Belarus to shoot at Ukrainian targets, creating a difficult situation for families in the region.

“Because Ukrainians and Russians are our brothers and we lived in the Soviet Union and a lot of family members that live in all of these countries. So we certainly feel used by the Russian government because we are in sort of a position of hostage now, we don’t get to say no. The Belarussian people do not want to have the war. Our territory is used to fight and it’s scary to hear that Ukraine that if you’re going to continue to send the rockets from your territory we will have to retaliate. And I know it’s hard for Ukrainians as well,” said Dr. Lainas.

Russia began its military assault on Ukraine on February 24, 2022.