For the past few weeks, they have been writing and calling me, trying to find out how my friends and even unfamiliar people from all over the world are doing in Ukraine. Today, February 16, the day when Russia is supposed to launch a large-scale aggression against my country and the Ukrainian people, I want to share what is happening in society and how we live this difficult period in life.

Russian aggression is familiar to me firsthand since 2014, when in the east of Ukraine, with Russian support, administrative buildings were seized and the territories of large cities were occupied, and later the Crimean peninsula. I had to flee from a panic-stricken city in which bloody events had already begun. Now I live in Kiev. The first years of the war claimed the lives of more than ten thousand people, it was a very difficult period, all day long our TV channels showed the statistics of those killed and funeral ceremonies. Ukraine was weakened and asked for support from the world community, and surprisingly there was no particular resonance, the leaders of states expressed their concern one after another and only a few of them imposed sanctions against Russia and supported Ukraine financially.

It was a very big surprise for me that Russia wants to invade Ukraine with a full-scale war, the news of all countries began to be full of headlines: after how many days the capital can be captured, what types of weapons to fire, how to evacuate, where the bunkers are located, what other regions of the country are under attack. Information comes from all sides, and of course all Ukrainians follow the news and try to understand what is happening, how to live on. Dear friends, the psychological pressure we receive is colossal, we are told daily by the foreign media that an invasion is imminent. But contrary to forecasts, no one is fleeing from Ukraine en masse in fear, we all have gained patience and courage, we pray and believe that the situation will be resolved prudently. The leadership of Ukraine is looking for all kinds of diplomatic ways and asks citizens not to panic. Some politicians have left the country, but the majority of citizens are ready to stay in their cities and defend their land, protect their families.

There is tension between people, this is understandable, because the situation is such that tomorrow any of us may not wake up, but everyone is trying to behave delicately towards each other and restrain emotions.

Despite the aggravated situation, we try not to let fear paralyze our lives, and not to excessively communicate on all these terrible topics. Yesterday I was with my artist friends in the Kiev library, helped them with the organization of the exhibition, which will open today, on the day that many have called the key, some publications write that the bombing may even begin. The Art Exhibition has the symbolic name “Make art not war”. The President of Ukraine signed a decree that from now on this day will be celebrated as "Unity Day", and I am grateful to all countries that have shown tremendous support for Ukraine and all kind people who pray for Peace . We believe that Goodness and Wisdom will win.

With love and hope in the heart, Ukrainian artist Marina Stognieva

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