A year ago today, Russia invaded Ukraine in a terrifying act of aggression. At BrightLocal, we have a direct link with the people of Ukraine, through our 30-strong team of talented people. These people had their lives turned completely upside down.
Over that time we have been working hard to support our Ukrainian brothers and sisters, whether that’s relocating them, providing generators, emergency aid, or through other means. We made it clear that we’d support our colleagues however they decided to cope with the invasion.
We are consistently reminded of the strength, bravery, resilience, and unwavering commitment of our colleagues. Among air raids, power outages, and hours of waiting through debilitating uncertainty, they have carried on and continued to show up for the rest of us. We are immensely proud of and thankful for them.
People from our team have bravely shared their stories on how the last year has affected them, their loved ones, and the nation of Ukraine.
Valentyna, Yana and Alex
My story began as for many on February 24 at 5 am.
We lived in Kharkiv on the northern part of the Salotovka, on this year’s day we woke up and did not understand what is happening. We thought that someone was doing bad jokes and that on the street, someone was launching fireworks.
But, it became louder and louder. Opening the window, we saw that it was not a joke. The war had begun. Our parents called us and asked us to leave Kharkiv for safer places. More missiles flew.
Having collected a disturbing suitcase which included: dry rations, documents, funds, and a laptop, we began to move.
The way from Kharkiv to Transcarpathia took 4 days. It was a long four days. Columns of civilian cars were moving from refueling to refueling, fuel was becoming less and less. All cars were cautious when near large cities and critical infrastructure.
I remember very well that in those first two weeks, significant attention was paid to the news. All the news in the telegram channel was filled with pain and despair, and from time to time reflected the courage and resilience of our soldiers.
Hope is alive!
Friends offered their home where we moved. I went to the military Committee and became registered. Since I had a military education in one of the specialties, I became a reserve, and waited until I may be useful.
The evening of one of the Friday rallies, a phone rings, which will turn my life upside down.
Having picked up the phone, there is a proposal from which you will not be able to refuse, to appear immediately at the military commons. Having come to the military commons I was given directions for selection and training.
At the end of the study, it was possible to choose where I could serve–without delay I chose the city closer to my home. The feeling was this was where I had to serve. From that moment it became clear that everyday life ended with an inherent routine.
Lived in cold rooms where there were always constant draughts and dampness. During the rain, I counted droplets that were seeping through the ceiling. But we paid no attention because everyone had one wish–to stop the enemy and win.,
The company in which I work very strongly supports me and my country at the whole stage, it has provided help of the funds for the purchase of necessary things for the Armed Forces and food for civilians. This impressed me very much how everyone in the company got into our pain, everyone wanted to help.
This supports us!
At present, the true face of the enemy is already known–we are not afraid. There is already a plan to begin rebuilding construction–we are approaching our victory together.
Zdorovia (Бажаю здоров’я)! It is the Ukrainian military greeting, my friends. It translates to ‘I wish you health!’
So almost one year passed after Russia started the big, unprovoked war against us (Russia started a hybrid war 8 years ago). I remember how everyone talk about what would they do in that scenario. And, to be honest I didn’t know my answer to that question.
I just knew I can’t step aside. What should I do?
On the 3rd day, I realize I want to help to defend our capital. But, as I had never been in the army before and didn’t know how to use weapons I was sent home, as I could harm myself or a friendly unit.
Then I came to TRO and left my phone number, but they didn’t call me yet. There were hundreds of men and women waiting for their turn.
I remember a girl, who was a student at the medical institute, she didn’t live close, and she walked over 20 kilometers to get there to leave her phone number in case they need her as a war paramedic. She was so small, and tiny but she has a big heart and desire to help our country. I hope she is well now.
I stayed in the capital for 2 weeks. There were a lot of explosions, air alarms, and nights in a basement with other neighbors. Finally, me and Katya, my girlfriend, decide to move to my relatives in Ivano Frankivsk. After we came there on the third day I came to the military commissariat and was sent to a training camp where my military life started.
I remember the first night. Air alarms at night, four hours of waiting, that sound of Russian missiles that fly above our heads and struck a barracks of friendly units just 1.5 kilometers from us, more than 30 people died that night.
That spring everything changed. And as soon as I could I took vacation for 3 days and got married. I realized how much I love my Kateryna and want to create a family with her. Her love and support give me the strength to be in my place.
In August my squad finally went to war and now we are 7 months there. Most of that time we spend defending Bahmut, we were in Soledar and somewhere in Lugansk Oblast. During that time I learned how to deal with different kinds of weapons, military tactics, and medicine.
I know how to do my work. It is definitely not easy, but it is my way. Here, there are a lot of great people, even from different countries, who joined our military force.
I know what I do and for what. For freedom, for our families, for our children, for our future.
If we gave away it will ruin not only our country. Russian greed doesn’t know borders. So the only way is to defeat them on our land, once and for all time.
I’m very lucky I joined Brightlocal a few years ago. It is more like a family than a usual company, which consists of great people. I couldn’t even begin to imagine how strong their support would be.
Cars, armor, warm clothes, medicine, sweets, drones, chemical heaters, and far more things were sent to me and my squad here. Hard to imagine what would I do without you guys. Brightlocal even continues to pay my salary while I’m here, which is great support for my family. Guys, you are awesome! Thank you for all, can’t wait for when we will defeat those enemies and I could hug you all. Cheers guys!