Dr. Olha Tytarenko of the University of Nebraska at Omaha shared her perspective, as a native of Ukraine, on Russia's invasion of her homeland with Seward  Rotary Club
Dr. Olha Tytarenko, a native of Ukraine, was the featured program at the Seward Rotary Club meeting on Wednesday, July 27th.  She is an Associate Professor of Practice of Russian /Russian Language Coordinator at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.  The title of her presentation was “Ukraine at War!”  Special guest for the presentation was Patti Hubbard of Seward, who has worked with Olha over the years.
She presented a power point presentation and noted that the war officially began Feb. 24, 2022 and that it has continued for 154 days to date.  She felt the first month of the war was the most devastating, with many leaving their homes and all of their possessions for safety.  She said that over four million left their homes and are considered “refugees in crisis” but many do not consider themselves refugees, as they hope to return home after the war. 
She commented on the horrors of the war in the Ukraine and keeps in contact with her family and friends and shared stories of her strong family who still lives in Ukraine.  She is proud that “The World Supports the Ukraine movement!” 
“When Russia invaded the Ukraine, they thought it was going to end in two or three days-they thought they would be met as liberators, but they were considered invaders” commented Dr. Tytarenko.  “We are proud of our President Zelensky, who is considered a hero and what the Ukraine needed.  Because of him, and his strength, we will win the war.”
She commented that 109 children were killed in the first month of the war and that the children are the ones that suffer the most-some born during the bombings. They had to leave their homes, leave their schools and many were separated from their families.  Many would write the information of the children on the back of the child.
She said the reason for the war is complex and multi leveled.  She also noted that the country of Ukraine is the second largest country in Europe. Ukraine had been part of Russia, wanting the nation back, claims that the Ukraine’s government is not legitimate and wants the country to return as part of Russia, viewing the two countries as one people.  In addition, Putin and Russia fear the Ukraine would join NATO and become stronger, with NATO military forces next door to Russia.  Finally, the Ukraine is rich in natural resources-and Russia wanted to secure those rich natural resources. 
The people of Ukraine are resilient and are returning the shot out and bombed out areas to go home.  She showed photos of how many are drawing flowers around the bullet holes in the fences-and commented that “Life Goes On!”
She was very grateful for the support of the area and help to aid the people of the Ukraine.  She thanked the Seward Rotary Club for their donation by their club –raising over $15,000 to the Ukrainian Humanitarian effort through the Rotary International Foundation and a pick-up load of medical supplies from Seward Memorial Health Care. The Rotary District 5650 raised over $100,000 for the Ukriane campaign, plus hundreds of pounds of medical supplies. To date, Rotary International has raised $15 million for the Ukraine aid.  She commented that she supports the “I helped fund” to raise funds for the Ukraine as well. 
She said that despite the horrors of war, the many thousands of volunteers make the horrors of war less.  She was very grateful for the many volunteers and all that help from countries worldwide-all supporting the Ukraine effort.  She concluded with the emotional photo “Light will Overcome Darkness” and encouraged all to be strong and continue to work for the war to end with the Ukraine as the victor.  Questions followed her presentation.