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Opinion: Let’s talk about the war on Ukraine

Miha Rekar, Unsplash

A protestor wearing the Ukraine flag holds a sign saying, “Solidarity with the people of Ukraine.”

The world has its eyes on Eastern Europe. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is unprovoked, unjust and uncalled for, leaving everyone searching for answers. With the constant media and public attention, misinformation and propaganda have run wild just days after the beginning of the war.
It’s hard to get accurate and up-to-date information on such a quickly evolving situation, but it is vital to avoid misinformation. Social media is a fantastic way to connect with civilians, but it is also an easy way to come across unconfirmed updates and rumors. It is our responsibility to stay informed so we can better support Ukrainians.
“It is an assault not only on Ukraine, it is an assault on the whole world.”
Lyudmyla Tsykalova
One way to find out more about what is going on is by going to state media or news outlets in Ukraine and Russia. Getting news from both sides is one way to counter bias, though it is important to keep in mind numbers and facts reported by each country, especially Russia, may be skewed. Russian media now faces more scrutiny than at the start of this war and we can no longer trust Russian media to give us an accurate portrayal of what citizens are feeling and how the government is reacting.
Social media has become one of the few ways in which we can still hear from Russian citizens. From many platforms, including TikTok, Russian citizens have been voicing their distaste for the war.
However, as easy and quick as social media platforms are, they’re unfortunately not the best place to learn about current events, especially about events of this magnitude. Though you can usually trust a major organization’s official accounts, a lot of things can be untrue or inflammatory. Video game footage and doctored images have been circling the internet and non-Ukrainian Europeans have claimed to be in warzones with doctored footage and war reels on loop in the background. Many people will unfortunately try to use this as a chance to garner views and popularity. It is your responsibility to confirm information, even when it comes from a large source.
You can also use news outlets from countries outside of Ukraine and Russia. Sources like The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal are good places to stay up to date. I am in no way saying that you cannot trust small news sources, but for larger corporations who can afford to have war correspondents, it’s easier to have accurate and up-to-date information. Big organizations also have many more resources available to reach out to the citizens and the governments of the countries as well.
Though this war is still in its beginning stages, many people have died and many more likely will. Putin is spilling Ukrainian blood for reasons that are not yet completely clear. This war is despicable, and innocent lives are being lost.
On Sunday, March 6, there was a rally for Ukraine on Bowman field. Members of the Clemson community were there to show their support and to share their stories. The rally was a way for South Carolinians to voice their distaste and disapproval of Russia’s assault on Ukraine.
Lyudmyla Tsykalova, a graduate student studying international family and community studies, was one of the speakers and event organizers. She spoke about using reliable sources and recognizing bias in Russian media. She also discussed ways in which to get involved and why Americans should care.
“There are multiple things, the first is understanding this is not a war on Ukraine, Russia is not fighting Ukraine right now, Russia is fighting the west, especially the United States.”
Lyudmyla Tsykalova
She has started a Facebook page where you can find information from her about ways to help. The Facebook page is called “Clemson 4 Ukraine.” Staying involved and listening to those affected is a vital step in helping Ukrainians.
The situation is incredibly delicate, and many neighboring countries are worried about the possibility of an attack from Russia. How we as a nation react to Putin’s aggression will set a precedent for the future. We have a responsibility to stay informed and help these people, and to put an end to this unjust invasion.

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