The faces of the first month of the war

Russian invasion
The faces of the first month of the war

Ukraine resisted the Russian invasion for a month. President Zelenskii is internationally regarded as a symbol of resistance against Kremlin leader Putin. But war has many faces.

Russia’s war against Ukraine already has many faces after the first month:

The attacker, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj, who proves to be an indomitable resistance fighter, is also supported by Chancellor Olaf Scholz. A Russian TV reporter no longer participates in the Kremlin propaganda. A major general presents meager numbers from Moscow’s point of view every day. And then, of course, there are the many victims.

Vladimir Putin (69)

In over 20 years in power, the Russian president has led the giant empire through numerous bloody conflicts. After the wars in the Russian Republic of Chechnya in the North Caucasus, against Georgia and in Syria, the attack on the neighboring country is so far the most important. To this end, Putin has put the country’s nuclear weapons on special combat readiness.

The former head of the secret services threatens to do so even if the US or NATO will interfere in the “special military operation”. Putin refuses to talk about war there. But he himself has been using the word for some time: in view of the unprecedented international sanctions, he speaks of an economic war with which the West wants to destroy the superpower of resources. However, Putin continues to be confident in victory.

Volodymyr Zelenskii (44)

The Ukrainian president is in the world spotlight as a hero of the resistance. Almost every day, the former actor, who for many years played a president in a comedy series, addresses his people and also parliaments and governments abroad via video link. He calls for arms deliveries and tougher sanctions against Russia. Nationally, he was able to seize the opportunity. Both the pro-Russian and the nationalist opposition are now silent.

The TV stations of his predecessor and opponent Petro Poroshenko must carry the state standard program. Criticism of Zelenskii is currently a taboo. If the head of state looked broken before the outbreak of the war and it was a second term, he is currently the undisputed leader of his nation.

Olaf Scholz (63)

The German Chancellor completely reversed German foreign and security policy after the war began. He hands over weapons to an ongoing war, which are now being used against nuclear power, breaking a taboo. More than two percent of the Bundeswehr’s gross domestic product every year – unthinkable just a few months ago. Turnaround in energy policy to end Russia’s dependence on gas, oil and coal.

The Chancellor’s speech to the Bundestag on February 27 is already considered historic. There are limits to what Germany can do to support Ukraine. This is demonstrated by the silence of Scholz and his government after a video passage of Zelenskii at the Bundestag. Germany says no to a full energy embargo against Russia and the prospect of Ukraine joining the EU.

Marina Ovsyannikova (44)

The TV reporter appeared in prime time prime time news on Russian state television, showing a poster saying, “Don’t believe the propaganda. Here they lied to you ”. She became famous with her courageous protest against the war. After years of working for the Kremlin propaganda station, she is now being celebrated internationally as a heroine. Putin’s camp sees her as a traitor.

The daughter of a Russian and a Ukrainian has already had to pay a fine for a video with a protest appeal. Due to the televised appearance, she faces criminal proceedings. Although she fears for her safety, the mother of a 17-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter wants to stay in Russia. “My life has changed forever,” she says. She hasn’t regretted it.

Boris Romanchenko (died at the age of 96)

The concentration camp survivor survived four Nazi concentration camps. Now, like hundreds of other civilians, he has fallen victim to the war. On March 18, a bullet hit his home in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine. His apartment, which he hadn’t left in months because of Corona, went down in flames. He himself died.

That was the end of an eventful life. At the age of 16, German troops had deported him to Dortmund, where he had to work underground. In 1943 he was sent to the Buchenwald concentration camp, then to Peenemünde, Dora and Bergen-Belsen. After the war he was involved in commemoration work. His death in the war caused deep mourning for many, even in Germany.

Igor Konashenkov (55)

The major general and spokesman for the Russian defense ministry appears every day in front of the camera. He is also the face of Moscow’s war on Western news. In a quiet voice, the man in uniform explains the Russian point of view on the “special military operation” in Ukraine, which Moscow must not call war. He doesn’t have to answer critical questions. In the monologue he talks about the advance or the destroyed military structures – and the dead.

The soldier, born in the former Soviet Republic of Moldova, has been one of the most cited representatives of his ministry in recent years, even before Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu. Since 2011 he has been in charge of the press office. Konashenkov has already received 14 military medals, including the Russian Order of Courage.

Alyona Nadtochiy (27)

The nurse from Jahotyn, near the capital Kiev, is one of more than 230,000 Ukrainian refugees who are already in Germany. She fled in early March, along with eight other women and girls from her family. The men had to stay home to defend the country from Russian troops. Her daughter Lisa is the youngest at seven. They only had 20 minutes to pack.

In a completely overcrowded train we went to the border with Poland and then by bus to Bad Düben in Saxony. Pure coincidence: a bus driver from northern Saxony collected donations and brought them to the border. On the way back, you invited a larger group of refugees. None of the nine refugees were in Germany. You don’t know anyone here either. It is not clear how long they will remain: “When the war is over, we will go back,” says Aljona.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 220323-99-642219 / 2

Here is the photo gallery: The faces of the first month of the war


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