Ukrainian Corvallis sister city resident provides further updates on state of war


Jess Hume-Pantuso, Photographer

Protestors gather to show support for the people of Ukraine in front of the Benton County Courthouse in Corvallis, Ore on Feb. 26. Vasyl Chubar, a resident of one of Corvallis’ sister cities, Uzhhorod, Ukraine, provided another update on his experience on-the-ground during the Russian invasion.

Zeva Rosenbaum, News Contributor

Vasyl Chubar, resident of Uzhhorod, Ukraine, which is one of Corvallis Ore.’s sister cities, provided another update on the current state of Ukraine during the Russian invasion as of Feb. 26. 

Chubar is also director of the Take One Ukrainian Child’s Hand project, which is a sponsorship program for Ukrainian children. In his addition to the latest TOUCH newsletter, Chubar said things are still quiet in Uzhhorod and Zakarpattya, also referred to as Transcarpathia, and that these are one of the few remaining areas free of air-raid sirens so far, though there may be attempts to sabotage or cause panic. Unzhhorod residents remain cautious. He said neighboring regions Khmelnetskyy, Volyn and Lviv are on “high alert” because they are at medium risk of air strikes. 

Civilians are attempting to flee combat areas, and western regions of Ukraine are focused on assisting women and children refugees from the Ukrainian areas under attack, Chubar said. Neighboring countries Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary have opened their borders to Ukrainian refugees, Chubar said, which will lead to long lines as more people leave the country. 

Chubar said his own family expects to accommodate four women and seven children from extended family and friends in Kyiv and Vinnysta.

The northeastern and southeastern parts of Ukraine see intense fighting against Russia’s military and many civilian areas have been attacked, according to Chubar. Volunteers and territorial defense forces are defending Ukraine in unison with the army with “unprecedented unity,” he said. 

“We are successfully defending all major cities in central and eastern parts of the country from an army that outnumbers us in quantity but not quality or motivation,” Chubar said. 

Russia’s advancing troops have been slowed as of early Feb. 27, according to the New York Times, and Ukrainian forces are working to target Russian supply lines. 

Chubar said multiple artillery assaults took place overnight in Sumy, Kharkiv and Chernihiv, but the Ukrainian army successfully prevented heavy vehicles from breaching the cities. He said these following days will hopefully be decisive.

“Finally, we have an adequate President, Minister of Defense and General Army Commander supported by the diplomatic efforts of our Foreign Affairs Minister,” Chubar said.

There are lines of Ukrainian men prepared to join the fight in every part of the country, and full mobilization is taking place, according to Chubar. They have more men than are currently needed, so those without relevant experience are on standby.

Chubar said this war involves everyone, be it in building the backup forces or direct combat.

“Also, sharing accurate information globally is key!” Chubar said. “The world needs to know the truth about this terrible unprecedented size and damage war since [World War II]. Thank you for spreading the word and raising awareness! We see people reacting all over the world.” 

Following trusted news sources is important, Chubar said, and any justification of Putin’s choices is “unacceptable.” He recommended Ukrayinska Pravda, which reproduces Ukrainian news broadcasts in English. 

“Civilians are being attacked and killed,” Chubar said. “Russian missiles hit apartment buildings, schools, kindergartens and hospitals in many towns. These images remind me of the 2001 [World Trade Center] terrorist attack. Hope this comparison helps you better understand and relate to the situation.”

An anonymous one-time TOUCH sponsor, who immigrated from Ukraine as a child, also shared an update about his family members in Kharkiv, which is in the eastern part of the country. 

“All are in their fruit cellar bunkers,” the source wrote. “(Unnamed) is staying above ground to protect from looters. (Unnamed) can hear shooting from the soldiers. (Unnamed) is helping to treat the wounded. The hospital is closed except for those who are wounded.  Everyone else is hiding in bunkers near their own homes. So far, power is still on, but they do not know what tonight will bring.”

According to the Centre for Strategic Communications and Pravda, some of the Russian forces in Kharkiv have already been defeated. 

As of now, the Uzhhorod airport is still standing. It is one of the few left untouched, likely due to its proximity to the Slovakian border, said Alice Rampton, Corvallis resident, TOUCH co-chair and Corvallis Sister Cities Association member.

Rampton reminded readers that Uzhhorod and the Transcarpathian region are not safe from the war as soldiers are called away from the region, leaving families behind to risk their lives. 

Thousands of refugees are flooding to Uzhhorod and surrounding cities for asylum, Rampton said. Banks and ATMs are closed down with the intention of preventing cyberattacks. Unfortunately, this leaves civilians without funds to purchase food, medications and other necessities. 

The TOUCH project is doing their best to keep tabs on their sponsored children, Rampton said. She said they believe children are safe at this time, and Chubar is working to check in on their whereabouts since some may have fled out of Ukraine with family.

According to Rampton, Uzhhorod is setting up centers to accommodate refugees fleeing to the area who don’t have necessities like food, bedding or medical supplies. She said the CSCA is working to set up a GoFundMe to raise further funds for Uzhhorod and Ukraine as a whole and will provide updates as soon as possible. 

“We hope that Ukrainian soldiers will be able to keep the Russian government from taking over Kyiv,” Rampton wrote. “Ukraine is a nation of very brave citizens.”

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