Слава Украине.

Glory to Ukraine

Слава Украине.

Mae Bryant, Journalist

WARNING!! This article contains graphic material such as images of dead bodies and descriptions of genocide and rape!


    I think I am the first person to speak to Vladimir. Though really he doesn’t need me to speak much to him. He’s got an encyclopedia of essay like thoughts about the war in Ukraine, he is Ukrainian after all. 

     He’s the only kid in the school whos’ Ukrainian is better than his English, and he looks like the European cousin of my brother, which is how I heard of Vladimir. My brother sits next to Vladimir in English and on the day Vladimirs’ home country was invaded, my brother told me about how upset Vladimir was and how profusely he cussed out Putin in Ukrainian. (Putin huilo, Putin Huilo.)

     My brother was plagued by Vladimirs’ intensely distraught state. He only talked of his friend Vladimir and how horrible it is to see him. My parents were engrossed in Ukraines news too but it was my brother who became moved. My brother said Vladimir went through pictures and pictures of his crumbled town that’s right on the Russian border, saying his friends and sister are still there. 

     This boy my brother’s age just from the other side of the world, his home country was taken into a war. 

     I had to talk to Vladimir. If he was willing, maybe he’d want to say something about what it’s like to have one’s home liquified and to have his neighbors chased by soldiers. Through my brother I asked Vladimir if he’d be willing to talk to me. A week later I sat down with Vladimir outside a Starbucks. 

     Though Vladimir undoubtedly shared his truest thoughts about the war with me, I could tell he was just as much undoubtedly hindered in communicating the complexity of his ideas because of our language barrier. His English is very impressive, but it was a challenge for him through the muffler of English. 

     To tell his stories of death in his second language gives the first idea about how courageous Vladimir is. 

Now I will let him tell you about his country.


A map of Vladimir’s home city, Kharkiv, very near the Russian border

Home city:

     “Like everyone knows like I don’t believe Russia attack Ukraine. I like, I heard about this but I’m was not sure, I won’t believe Russia attack Ukraine.”

     “So like in Ukraine now it’s like all cities destroyed. So like my home city is like all destroyed. My father friend [Friend’s father] die. And like all my friends in basement. So they try to move [to] Poland and like Germany because it’s a safe place.

     “But like near this road, it’s like from my home city, soldiers they just kill citizen.”

Vladimir’s home town

“Like all my friends send me video with like rockets just shooting house. And like my house is… it’s okay? Because like it’s near forests. Like my sister, my grandmother my cousin [are] there now. The house, near my house, their home was destroyed.”

     “I don’t know if my house will stay safe. If like, will my sister and grandmother stay safe because they can’t go from my city.”

                “The strongest battles are now being fought in the south (where the city of Kharkiv is located) and it is there that the further out come of the war and further actions will be decided.”

Vladimir’s home city in rubble


 “Like I’m planning to fly on Ukraine this summer. I don’t know,  my friends-my friends, their house’s destroyed.”






“Yup, they have for Ukraine like block Russia, a lot of company block Russia. But like, it’s not help.”

 “Like NATO, they’re just scared of Russia because Russia has nuclear bombs. And like, because if they start to help Ukraine it start World War Three. because Putin is…Putins’ like crazy man like he says if someone helped Ukraine he used nuclear bomb.”

“Nuclear bombs,  it’s-it’s destroy like all countries like not cities, whole country.”

“About 1000s Russian soldiers die. Like,  if NATO close um sky from Ukraine it’s much better because we haven’t system for planes because, planes bomb.”

“We got a um system for like soldiers, we got system for them. We haven’t system for planes, like planes just fly, just bomb cities.”

”It’s-it’s no good decision because like in Russia, they block Instagrams, block editors, you know,  those companies. And Russian people just-just like stay at home for government, just sitting home, just waiting. They’re waiting for something interesting. Like if, say, destroy like crush the government.”

A road outside of Kiev

“Like Putin. He’s president of Russia. He’s president about 10 years. But Putin -President it’s really weird.”

“I don’t know, our president Zelinsky, you know? Like, [he’s] popular with U.S. and like English. They can’t really help us because it’s like really starting WW3. I know, because Russia is second army in the world. And Ukraine is like, it’s just country.”

The people:

“It’s like, all my country- just Russia bombed like all Ukraine. All objects, houses, no houses. It’s like no matter what they just destroy all Ukraine.”

What are your friends doing?

“Like? My friends in Poland. One my friends, is in station’s city. My girlfriend she’s in Germany. She’s okay. But her uncle…”

A picture from outside Vladimir’s girlfriends apartment

“During the entry of the troops of the Russian Federation, the daughter of this woman went out into the street. She was shot. The girl was buried by her mother as best she could. They killed everyone. Absolutely everyone.”

“At the same time every house was robbed, even the office was taken away. Nothing was left in many cities of Ukraine.” (See link at the end for full video)

“And this is another video from Bucha in which the men were taken to the basement and shot when they were tied up.” (See link at the end)

Killed Ukrainian civilians

     “The worst thing is that many children were tied up before being shot.  As much as it sounds, a lot of little girls are raped. It’s just unbearable. I will never understand Russia for this and I cannot understand how this can be done. Thats fucked up.”

“It’s hard to write something here.”


An instagram post Vladimir sent me with information about the Genocide in Bucha . @anton_pepper


“Like, the situations really bad. Because the father of my friend died. Because like, all policeman’s going for all soldiers, all man from 18 to 60 or 55.”

“They’re  smart.”

“Like, one station. There’s my brother. He can [could have] like die yesterday, because Russia bomb one of our house. Like he was- he got away with his family just before bombs- like bombings, his house. He [could have] died. Like, this lucky.”

“Like I’m 16 I can [fight] when I will be 18.”

So they wouldn’t let you fight?

“Um if like situation will be much worse, since 16 years old can’t fight but like now…”


“So like in Russia it’s like really  strong propaganda. Like “they didn’t kill citizens, like didn’t touch them” but like, city.. This is ring of Russian soldiers around city and there’s no water, no food, no electricity.”

“Yes, like in Russia is really strong um, propaganda.”

“I’m actually not sayings like all Russian are bad. No, no and not all people’s from Russia support Ukraine. But like lots of people support Putin. Yeah, because I know propaganda, it’s the worst thing. Russia is going to be like North Korea.”

“People leave Russia but like also a lot of people in the world like hate Russians. I’m not really agree about, because like not all Russians support Putin. But I know a lot of Russian people like really on propaganda and support Putin. And he says we Nationalists [in] Ukraine.”

“So we got like nationalists in Ukraine. His name is Bondara and [he says] “we all we try to destroy Russia”.  Or we try [to] join NATO because they think that if we joined NATO U.S create base on Ukraine, and like this base can destroy Kremlin, Moscow. I don’t know what [they’re] thinking about.”

And foreign news was like “Ukraine won’t join to NATO if we win”, but like it’s really in old world.”

“About 1000 citizen die. Like citizens, not soldiers, citizen.”

“I don’t know… I see, it’s all celebrities, [their support] it was really cool but it’s- it’s help Ukraine? But like situation, it won’t be better because Russia just bomb cities, just kill citizens, just kill our solider. The help, it’s really cool It’s like all world support for Ukraine but like won’t…”

It won’t stop Russia?

“Like yeah…I don’t know…also for me, I’m not really happy.”

“If I were 18 I will like go [join] soldiers like spy for the country. Russia come in our country, just kill our citizens, yeah. It’s really hard.”


     In the beginning before understanding more, part of my thought when talking to Vladimir was “How is it appropriate for me to react?” My life has never seen a war. 

     Now, after thinking about Ukraine for 2 weeks I know what I’d say to Vladimir. There’s really no idea for premeditated thought behind what to say or do, I would cry. 

     War in Ukraine kills. I’ve never been sick outside of a flu, but sitting in the coffee shop when I saw the videos of dead Ukrainians, I almost threw up. 

     The truth is Western news is on the other side of a can with a wire attached to it.

     While writing this, normal people are being shot in the head only knowing that as their last situation on earth. Passing night and day and over and over for 2 months, hidden in true totality from the world because of the swift murderous cover of Russian war crimes are forthrightly inhumane killings.

Rape and genocide and death take place now. 

     In most ways (like many others I’d imagine) this community in western America is defenseless in really ‘helping’. 

     The real power of understanding the war and the crimes under it, is in understanding Vladimir. He is a boy who has to go to a highschool and he likes to box and he has a sister and a family. He’s the person right in front of your eyes living the war in Ukraine. 

     To give his pain and anger and the ties of his identity a place to be read, that’s the power. 

     Please understand that our modern age is not exempt from heinous war. War’s brutality is not a thing of the past. 

It’s happening to Vladimirs’ own friends. 


Vladimir Korkin

“Thank you. Many asked what was happening there and then I realized that they perceive the war in a completely different way and do not understand all the horror of what is happening.”


Update: Since I interviewed Vladimir there have been some changes to the situation. He told me this,

“And unfortunately about my grandmother and relatives at home, grandmother died two weeks ago because she had health problems and there were no normal conditions in hospitals, because everything was bombed and destroyed. An operation was needed in Turkey where it was simply impossible to get to. Unfortunately, due to the situation, she died.”

“The war really took a lot and many people had nothing left.”