Mar. 4—Andrii Bezmen has spent practically a 3rd of his life away from Ukraine, at present pursuing his educational targets. However as Russia wages struggle in opposition to his native nation, his consideration is concentrated squarely on his household again residence.
And he’s seethingly offended at Vladimir Putin. Not the Russian folks, who Bezmen stated Putin is sending to mindless deaths. However Putin himself.
“Proper now, we have now eight days of full-on invasion; and on the primary day, I used to be sort of in denial a little bit bit,” Bezmen informed a reporter whereas sitting in one of many entrance pews of Hood’s Coffman Chapel. “I used to be shocked. I simply could not consider that this occurred.
“Proper now, I just about do not feel something apart from hate. Simply, like, burning ardour and hate,” Bezmen went on. “And that is what is driving us; we’re extremely motivated.”
Bezmen, 22, has lived in america for six years, first having studied on the United World Faculty’s single US location in Montezuma, N.M., earlier than getting accepted to Hood right here in Frederick, the place he is now a senior majoring in laptop science and minoring in arithmetic.
Bezmen sat down for an interview earlier than talking at a rally held at Hood Thursday night in solidarity with Ukraine.g us; we’re extremely motivated.”
Bezmen, 22, has lived in america for six years, first having studied on the United World Faculty’s single US location in Montezuma, N.M., earlier than being accepted to Hood right here in Frederick. Bezmen sat down for an interview earlier than talking at a rally held on the Hood campus Thursday night to point out solidarity with Ukraine.
Now, from half a world away, Bezmen watches helplessly as Russian troops assault his native nation, together with his hometown of Sumy, situated within the northeast of the nation close to the Russian border.
His household remains to be there.
“My dad is in Ukraine in the meanwhile. He is in Sumy; he is on the entrance line defending our metropolis,” he stated. “My mother, she’s additionally there within the metropolis, with my little sister. She’s 12. They’re within the bomb shelter of our residence, hiding with no gentle, no electrical energy, no water, no warmth. It is fairly horrible.”
He stated he is aware of the Ukrainian folks will not hand over, it doesn’t matter what occurs.
“Nobody’s going to give up; it’s not possible to give up,” he stated. “As a result of in any other case, you recognize, there will be no Ukraine. My dad can not give up. He does not need to, and even when he would, there’s not going to be peace…”
“My dad is in army police, so he’ll be focused, and possibly executed or thrown in jail,” he stated, describing his worst fears, if the Ukrainians do give up to the advancing Russian army. He additionally worries about the remainder of his household’s security.
He stated he hasn’t slept a lot over the previous week, estimating he is had perhaps 4 or 5 hours of sleep whole. As a substitute, he stated he is spent a lot of his time in determined communication together with his household, chatting with them by encrypted networks, letting them know the actions of the Russian army from publicly obtainable reviews they could have problem in accessing amid the continuing fight.
What he is combating is why this struggle is even occurring, why Putin determined to invade Ukraine in any respect.
“He is out of his thoughts. … He is killing his personal nation in the meanwhile with sanctions,” Bezmen stated. “His nation is burning as a lot as our nation.
“We’re combating for our residence; we’re combating for our survival; we’re combating for our freedom; we’re combating for our rights; we’re combating to be equal as Europeans, the identical as you Individuals,” he stated. “However what are Russia combating for? They hold saying that is some sort of particular operation mission. What are they combating for?”
A show of solidarity
Exterior Coffman Chapel, a crowd of about 50 Hood college students and college gathered, ready for Bezmen to talk. The gang waved Ukrainian flags, carrying indicators bearing anti-war messages and a few even had the Ukrainian blue-and-yellow painted on their faces.
Brooks Anderson, a scholar who stated he developed a detailed friendship with Bezmen throughout their time at Hood collectively, launched him to the assembled crowd. Anderson informed the group that he and Bezmen have been dorm neighbors and teammates on the swim group earlier than residing collectively of their sophomore and junior years.
“I discovered one factor from speaking to him evening after evening: that, regardless of being raised on the opposite aspect of the globe in Ukraine, he and I had a really, very related upbringing,” Anderson stated. “A person raised in Europe by Ivan isn’t so completely different from a person raised in West Virginia by Scott.”
Bezmen thanked the group for attending and exhibiting help for his native nation.
It was throughout his speech that Bezmen’s anger and disappointment over the scenario actually turned obvious.
“Three days in the past, 16 kids have been killed. Time and again, President Putin goes to say that that is some sort of particular army operation and that they’re concentrating on solely army infrastructure,” he stated, anger rising in his voice. “In what army infrastructure do you see youngsters working? What tanks are youngsters driving? What cruise missiles are they launching?”
Earlier than main the group on a march across the campus, Bezmen pleaded with these listening to him to hitch anti-war protests, contact their elected officers to demand extra help for Ukraine, donate funds and signal petitions demanding the closure of airspace over Ukraine. Bezmen claimed that is important for the Ukrainians’ struggle effort.
Hood’s president, Andrea E. Chapdelaine, stated she was happy with the scholars who turned out to help Bezmen.
“I believe for the scholars to see (the neighborhood) banding collectively across the precept of, ‘We consider in peace, we condemn struggle,’ I believe it means so much to know they’ve an entire neighborhood that may stand collectively in opposition to violence,” she stated.
After the march, the group returned to the steps of Coffman Chapel, the place Beth O’Malley, dean of the chapel, prayed for an finish to the violence.
“We be part of our prayers with the folks of Ukraine; we glance to the heavens for peace and safety throughout this time of violence and oppression,” O’Malley stated, eyes turned upwards. “We ask in your mercy, to alter hearts and minds for many who have chosen the trail of destruction. Holy Spirit, understanding that struggle can solely carry struggling and dying, we glance to you to result in reconciliation between the folks of Ukraine and Russia, and the entire of japanese Europe.”
It was Bezmen who had the ultimate phrase of the occasion, asking these in attendance to observe him in a chant of the phrase which has turn out to be Ukraine’s slogan throughout the struggle.
“Glory to Ukraine,” he stated, shouting into the microphone.
“Glory to the heroes,” got here the response from the group.Comply with Patrick Kernan on Twitter: @PatKernan
Comply with Patrick Kernan on Twitter: @PatKernan