Ukrainian students speak at a student panel at Wesleyan University

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MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) – Russia’s invasion of Ukraine hits hard for a Wesleyan University student.

“When I go to class, I can’t even concentrate because the mere fact that there is a war in my country is screaming in my head,” said Yuliia (Julia) Kulchytska, a second-year student at the Wesleyan University, originally from Ukraine.

A student panel was held at the university on Friday on the Ukrainian-Russian crisis.

Ukrainian students appeared on Zoom.

“They don’t understand diplomacy. They don’t understand a word. They don’t understand any pleadings. They only understand pain. I’m sorry to say that,” said Melaniya Podolyak, who attends Ukrainian Catholic University and raises funds for the Ukrainian military. “I sent all my best friends off to war right now.”

Ukrainian students want to let people know the reality of what is happening there. Six were able to appear on the panel despite this reality.

“They hear bombs all the time. This morning another kindergarten was hit,” said Katja Pylyshenko Kolcio, a professor at Wesleyan University, who has brought pupils to Ukraine.

Ukrainian students hope that by speaking out they will win support from the West.

“That includes any available military equipment, especially weapons, and that includes sanctions,” Podolyak said. “The harder the better.”

“To freeze all Russian bank accounts and stop all flights to and from Russia,” added student Roman Stasivk, who is in Ukraine.

“Just in the morning there was like air raid sirens and my little sister she would just call me and say ‘Julia, I’m afraid I’ll never see you again’ and to me that’s very heartbreaking that I am 6,000 miles away right now,” Kulchytska said.

She is studying at Wesleyan on a scholarship and acted as a translator during the roundtable.

“So dictatorships and autocracies, they only stop when they are stopped,” Kulchytska translated.

For now, she is taking things day by day. But she also thinks about what will happen after this semester ends at Wesleyan.

“I’m very worried that I won’t be able to come back,” Kulchytska said.

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