Ms. Regina recalls her Ukrainian roots

Latitude science lead moved to the US after the collapse of the Soviet Union

Oakley Briskman, Legacy reporter

Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb. 24 in an attempt to reclaim Ukraine (as a colony) after 30 years of sovereignty. 100,000 Russian soldiers occupied Ukraine’s borders. They invaded Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, among many other cities, and bombed buildings and schools where people were seeking safety. 

The invasion was motivated by Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia. On Feb. 21, in a speech just before the invasion, Reuters News Agency quoted Putin as saying, “If Ukraine was to join NATO it would serve as a direct threat to the security of Russia.” 

Putin wants Ukraine as a buffer between Russia and National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) which was created in 1949 by the United States, Canada, and Europe for security against the Soviet Union. NATO consists of 30 countries that are political allies. Ukraine isn’t a part of NATO but wants to join and Russia is strongly against this because they don’t want NATO on their borders. 

Ukraine has been responding to the invasion very resiliently and has come together as a country to fight for its freedom. 

One of Latitude’s fellow community members, Ms. Regina Kruglyak, was born and raised in Ukraine. She is the director of science at Latitude High and was interviewed by Latitude senior Andrew Sifuentes. The lightly edited interview follows.

A map of Ukraine with Ms. Regina’s village indicated.

Q: Where are you from?

A: Originally I was born in Drohobych, Ukraine, and then I moved to Lyubov which is how you say it in Russian. Lviv is how you say it in Ukrainian. When I lived there everything was in Russian because it was the Soviet Union but now everything has changed to be in Ukrainian.

Q: When did you move to the United States?

A: I moved in 1992 – it took some time to get out and into the United States.

Q: What was your experience in Ukraine? Are there any memories you can speak on?

A: I was a child, so I felt like generally, it was all pretty positive memories. Getting to play and hang out with my family; we were all really close-knit. We had to wait in really long lines for food because there wasn’t any and you would get these meal rations, but that created really good family bonding.

Ms. Regina and her brother in Ukraine.

Q: How are you feeling about the situation in Ukraine right now?

A: Ukraine was left in a really bad state when they dissolved from the Soviet Union and from Russia. But now I think it’s a thriving country. I think a lot of people really pride themselves on the freedom that they have. It’s so sad to see that they’re being sucked back in. The people that we’ve talked to say that they will fight for as long as it takes because they really believe in what they’re fighting for and don’t want to be controlled by people they don’t believe in or agree with.

Q: Are you doing anything right now in support of Ukraine?

A: I spent the weekend helping my mom and my sister work on helping people that are fleeing Kyiv. They’re trying to get out of the country, but a lot of them are getting stuck in the process. The neighboring countries are actually being really wonderful and accepting people, but it’s really hard to get out.

it’s just a very sad situation. Kids aren’t going to school to learn. They’re going to school to feel safe from bombing.

Q: How can Latitude students and teachers support you?

A: I think people caring and believing that this is something that matters really helps. Not turning their backs and thinking about the next thing. Sometimes people get fatigued from things that are happening in the news. So sticking it out until the people have their freedom.

Ms. Regina suggested this website that is a good way to support the people of Ukraine.