(Sorry for the stock photo)
This is Independence Square in the capitol city of Kyiv. It's long been a city square, with history going back to 1869. It gained the current name after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Ukraine has had a long and complicated history with Russia, far too much to even try to scratch the surface today. There's a lengthy article on the Wiki
(of course), but suffice to say that the current problems can be traced to something called the "Revolution of Dignity
" in 2014.
In a nutshell, the government was overthrown because the people wanted closer ties with the EU, whereas the then-president wanted closer ties with Russia. After the coup, Russia sided with the ousted president and the situation has been simmering ever since.
As you are all aware, I am a student of Russian arts and culture. Over the last week or so, I've spent some time perusing some fine museums in Ukraine via the magic of Google Arts and Culture
. You can, too - just type "Ukraine" in the search box. Nevermind the required collections of ancient masters - the folk art is magnificent. Vibrant colours, landscapes, typical scenes from the countryside. I have also noted previously that I am rather fond of Russian Iconography, and Ukraine being of similar Orthodox background has many fine examples of this art.
Or maybe had.
81 years ago during Operation Barbarossa, the Nazis systematically looted fine artworks, gold, and other treasures in all their occupied lands. It's unclear if the Russians would stoop so low, but given the scale of destruction they have wrought, I am wondering how many of the museums and treasures of Ukraine have now been touched by war. It would, of course, be a loss to us all.
I will leave us with a thing from "Bored Panda", of all places. War is a confusion and a failure, and it's often all too easy to overlook what is being destroyed. Just take a click through this
and ponder what we all may have lost.