Students share scenes from war-torn Ukraine

Hotchkiss student Oleh Shtunder showed a Ukrainian flag emblazoned with messages from his friends in the “Dark Side of the Moon” brigade of the Ukrainian army.

Patrick L. Sullivan

Students share scenes from war-torn Ukraine

LAKEVILLE — Two Ukrainian students at The Hotchkiss School presented photographs taken in the war-torn country and offered their perspective Thursday, March 7.

Oleh Shtunder, 18, is a junior at Hotchkiss. He showed a Ukrainian flag emblazoned with messages from his friends in the “Dark Side of the Moon” brigade of the Ukrainian army.

He said that the brigade members are volunteers and have suffered casualties.

One was Olexy Shkarpta, a 31-year-old chef, who inked the flag with a poem about dignity and freedom.

The photographs are remarkable. If they were in black and white and the clothes were different, they could be mistaken for photos from World War II.

One shows a section of wall containing a piece of art by the English street artist Banksy. Shtunder said the piece was removed from the rubble and taken to a museum.

His family is safe, he continued, and he has an uncle in Kiev who is working as a trauma surgeon.

Ira Buch, 17, and also a junior, said she and her parents escaped from their home in an area targeted by Russian bombardment. It took three harrowing days but they made it to the Polish border.

She described the confusion of the war and the escape, with no communications except the radio.

Buch said she thinks the Russian invasion has backfired in one regard: People who were somewhat sympathetic to the Russians have changed their minds.

She said “there is not a family that hasn’t lost someone or had someone injured. It creates unity.”

Ira Buch fled Ukraine after the war broke out and now attends The Hotchkiss School. Buch described her experience March 7.Patrick L. Sullivan

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