Suffolk community looks back on the one year anniversary of the war in Ukraine


Demonstrators hold flags in support of Ukraine on Jan. 22.

Feb. 24 marked one year since Russia invaded Ukraine, and today the violence has prevailed, sparking concerns over inflation, energy and international tensions.

Reports and photos of the destruction have continued to spark outrage throughout the world. 

The invasion of Ukraine was a surprise for most, as Nika Chelnokova, a marketing major at Suffolk University from Ukraine, remembered.

“I was watching TV with my roommate and then suddenly she is telling me that Russia is bombing cities in Ukraine. I couldn’t believe it, and then I realized my worst fear became true. I immediately called my mum and I knew I had to be the one to tell her,” Chelnokova said. 

Others, particularly diplomats, were not surprised by the invasion.

“Russia had been complaining for a while about NATO’s expansion […] which Russian leaders perceive as relentless encroachment on their borders and encirclement,” said Professor Miguel Rodrigues, faculty at the department of political science and legal studies. 

Nonetheless, the war was not expected to last as long, as many believed Kyiv would fall quickly.

“Russia is a great power and […] is behaving like one, accruing as much security and power as it can. Ukraine surprised me with its resilience,” Rodrigues said.

According to Rodrigues, within the past year, the war changed the worldwide economy, views on security and the international world order.

“Resurgent Russia, along with a China in ascent, have once again made Great Power Rivalry and Balance of Power thinking very much in vogue,” said Rodrigues. 

Many Ukrainians are grateful for the support given by the United States thus far, including Boston, whose mayor, Michelle Wu, named Feb. 26, “Ukraine Day” in the city, according to Chelnokova. 

For a year now, the Ukraine war has been at the top of the global political agenda and so far, peace efforts have come to nothing — the war continues into 2023 with no end in sight. 

“No power in recent history has been able to push a vast nation like Russia back, but neither has Russia succeeded in compelling Ukrainian capitulation. The absolutely most likely outcome, therefore, is a stalemate, similar to what happened in the First World War,” Rodrigues said. 

Although experts are less optimistic, Ukrainians continue to fight, demonstrating incredible bravery and remain positive.

“In this tragedy there is also hope. I saw the bravery of soldiers who risked their lives to defend our country, I saw the compassion of people from all over the world […] I saw the resilience and strength of the Ukrainian people as they stood together to fight for our freedom and our future,” Chelnokova said.