The Year of Resilience

“We could have thrown away the white flag, but we chose to hold on to the blue and yellow one.” These words of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky were quoted in a speech by Ukrainian Ambassador to Israel Yevhen Korneychuk at a reception held on February 26th at the ANU Museum of the Jewish People with the support of the NADAV Foundation. The event, titled “The Year of Resilience,” marked the anniversary of the beginning of the war and highlighted the main milestones of the conflict.

A year ago, on February 24th, 2022, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine, bringing to an active phase the military confrontation that had been ongoing since 2014 when it annexed the peninsula of Crimea and parts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions. The Russian president’s plan was to seize Kyiv in three days, occupy Ukraine, and install a Kremlin-friendly regime. However, the Armed Forces of Ukraine resolutely repelled the aggressor and continue to defend the independence and territorial integrity of their country.

The event was attended by diplomats and military attachés of friendly states, Israeli politicians, public figures, volunteers, and businessmen. The guests were introduced to a photo exhibition titled “The Year of Resilience,” which featured photos of war, including destroyed cities, civilians, lost relatives, and Ukrainian soldiers.

The official part of the event began with a minute of silence to pay respects to those who had died. Nathan Sharansky, Israeli statesman, and public figure then took the floor and said, “Putin is denying Ukrainians the right to be a country and a people. Ukrainians are fighting for freedom and the right to be a nation, and in this they are like the Israelis.”

The evening concluded with the screening of a documentary by Oleksiy Komarovskiy and Arthur Lerman titled “Region of Heroes,” which tells true stories of Ukrainians during the war. The documentary features stories of rescuers who saved people from the shelling of Irpen, a couple of veterinarians who became doctors and saved lives, a volunteer who went behind enemy lines to get the elderly and people with disabilities to safety, and a young drone pilot who passed the coordinates of Russian units to Ukrainian commanders and prevented Russian tanks from entering Kyiv.

Although the year of war is a symbolic date, it is just a day on the calendar. The hostilities continue, and Ukrainians continue to fight and die for the right to be a country and a people.

Photo: Yael Ilinsky