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Recommended Reads: Week in Review
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Recommended Reads: Week in Review

Every week I sit down at my laptop with a list I’ve kept, of all the little stories — or big ones — that caught my eye, and maybe deserve a little more time in the sun through this email.

I was ready to do that this week. I had a list. I had my thoughts on how they could all come together.

Then Russia invaded Ukraine, and in truth, it feels as if nothing else really matters.

In a strictly literal way, the war is still distant to us. Our lives here go on. They go on over snow-rutted roads, over the haze of the pandemic, over the usual teapot tempests of civic business. There’s no way to know yet how much we will be directly touched by it. It depends on so many things. But we stand at an incredibly dangerous crossroads in world history, and if that’s taking up most of my mental focus, well, maybe it should.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops to separatist regions of eastern Ukraine, shortly after Russia’s parliament recognized Donetsk and Luhansk in the Donbas region as independent “republics”. (Efrem Lukatsky / The Associated Press)

The political history of the region is complex, and sensitive. I will not opine on it and, to be honest, I think the world’s media could stand to see fewer overnight Russia-Ukraine experts who have no direct connection to the conflict, but that always happens with these things.

It’s cute when we all suddenly become armchair figure skating commentators during the Olympics; when it comes to war, such dilettantism is confusing and distracting at best, and at worst, very dangerous. I am committing to spending the next days listening to those who know the region best, and considering the regional and global ramifications from many perspectives.

This is what I do know: this war is, and will be, part of our story. Manitoba and Ukraine are tied by bonds of family, bonds of faith and of history. Our community stands in solidarity

Svitoch Ukrainian Export & Import owner Ruslan Zeleniuk (right) packs up flags for Alexey, who has family in the Luhansk region, in Winnipeg. (Mikaela MacKenzie / Winnipeg Free Press)

One in six Manitobans holds Ukrainian heritage as part of their identity: what happens to Ukraine and its people happens to us too. Whatever the Free Press can do to tell that story — our story — as it unfolds, my colleagues and I stand ready.

And to all of my Ukrainian-Canadian readers, I have seen how you are afraid, and how you are hurting. May you have all the support around you that you need. If you have family in Ukraine, may they find hope in these dark days. And may the world find a way to call to account those leaders that perpetrated this unprovoked invasion of a sovereign nation.

Of all the evils in the world — and there are many — none are greater than the conviction that one has a right to inflict the horrors of war onto a civilian population.

With love, 

Melissa Martin

Melissa Martin, Reporter-at-large

Melissa Martin

Photo of the week

Members of Winnipeg’s Ukrainian community gathered at Sts. Vladimir and Olga Cathedral Thursday for a vigil service, praying for Ukraine. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press)

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