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UK professor and volunteer give 6-month update on Russia-Ukraine war

Russia Ukraine War
Posted at 4:45 PM, Sep 05, 2022

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — University of Kentucky professor Karen Petrone explained while we are not talking nearly as much about the Russia-Ukraine war here in the states, battles are raging every day in eastern and southern Ukraine.

She said people with language, medical, and teaching skills are needed. Anyone interested can go here to connect to volunteering opportunities.

"These are difficult times, but Ukraine has fought harder and more effectively than anyone imagined," Dr. Petrone explained.

She attributes that success to support from the West and receiving weapons and advanced technology. She also said the Ukrainians' fighting spirit is noteworthy.

"The Ukrainians know what they are fighting for," she said. "They are fighting for their country. They are fighting for their lives. And the way that Russia has treated civilians, the way it has bombed children's hospitals, has really strengthened Ukrainian resolve. Everyone has a clear picture of what they're fighting for. Even when morale is difficult after losing a battle, the Ukrainians realize what's at stake."

With neither country willing to come to the negotiating table, she said the war could develop into a war of attrition.

"Which side is going to hold up the best?" Petrone said. "So far Ukraine has held up far better than expected but how long can it hold out? Russia still in the end has a lot more resources it might be able to mobilize."

Continued fighting means the people are still suffering. That's where volunteers like Lauren Metelski step in.

"It's really heartbreaking," Metelski said. "It's really hard to watch this continue on."

The Lexington native volunteered with the World Central Kitchen at the Poland-Ukraine border for a week this summer.

"It's super tough to look another human in the eye and know that they're not getting their basic needs met," she said.

She said just as the people are tired, volunteers have become fatigued too.

"They've been through a lot of volunteers, and they could definitely use a lot more if you have the time, desire, the flexibility to do so," she said.