Editor's newsletter: The 'vast reserves of hope' in Ukraine a year on from Russia's invasion

Putin has so far failed in his aims of conquering Ukraine, while Zelensky is putting up a fight. (Credit: Mark Hall/NationalWorld)Putin has so far failed in his aims of conquering Ukraine, while Zelensky is putting up a fight. (Credit: Mark Hall/NationalWorld)
Putin has so far failed in his aims of conquering Ukraine, while Zelensky is putting up a fight. (Credit: Mark Hall/NationalWorld) | NationalWorld
Few could have predicted that the war in Ukraine would have lasted more than a few months, let alone a year, writes Nick Mitchell

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When Vladimir Putin made that chilling, early morning speech on 24 February last year, in which he announced Russia's "special military occupation" of Ukraine, it sent shockwaves around the world.

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Shockwaves, because although the Kremlin had been drifting further and further away from diplomacy over previous months, the West was still caught by surprise. The ignition of a full-scale war in Europe in the 21st century was one of those moments we'll all remember.

Very soon, in stark contrast to Putin, a heroic figure emerged in the form of Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky. His courage in remaining in Kyiv in those early days, while Russia's Wagner Group of mercenaries were sent out to assassinate him, was as remarkable as it was symbolic - and just one of countless remarkable acts of Ukrainian courage we would witness over the months that followed.

This week on NationalWorld we've been reflecting on the past year, and what it means not just for Ukraine but the wider world. Our reporter Heather Carrick has spoken to geopolitics expert James Rogers to get his view on how the war could end, and the current situation on the ground.

Heather also spoke to refugee Oksana Yarova, who fled from Kyiv with her mother and four year old son to eventually find safety in Cambridge, although she leaves her husband Vlad behind. You can also listen to Oksana talk about her experience on our Uncovered podcast special.

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The question of how Ukraine recovers from war may be one for the future, but our writer Hiyah Zaidi heard from experts on the deep effect that conflict can leave on a nation's physical and cultural landscape.

Earlier in the week, Patrick Watt of Christian Aid, who has just returned from Ukraine, wrote about his experiences there, and finished on a positive note:

"Ukraine is a country suffering from the fatigue of war. The constant stress that comes from air raid alerts, family separation, power shortages and an economy in steep decline. Yet I also encountered vast reserves of hope, creativity, and determination in the face of adversity, channelled into some extraordinary work made possible by the kindness of strangers."

This humanity can also be found in the film Stop-Zemlia. To mark the one-year anniversary of the war, we have partnered with the streaming platform Klassiki to host the exclusive online premiere of this coming-of-age drama, which you can watch for free until Sunday at 12noon.

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🍅 Closer to home, people in the UK have been contending with an issue that's almost certainly partly caused by the war in Ukraine. A shortage of fruit and vegetables has led to supermarkets rationing the sale of tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers, among other items. Our consumer reporter Henry Sandercock has been on top of this story all week, looking into the reasons for the shortageshow long they could last, and how the UK compares to Europe.

📧 What are your thoughts on Ukraine, food shortages or any other issue we've covered? You can write to me with feedback on this or any of our stories at [email protected] or find me on Twitter @nickmitchell.

📺 If you're looking for something to watch this weekend, make sure you listen to the latest episode of our Screen Babble podcast, and the Weekend Watch mini-episode.

Have an enjoyable weekend, and enjoy your turnips.

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