About 200 children were housed in a school in my home town about 30 KMs north of Rostov in 2014. They were bringing truck loads of them in by conveys direct from the Ukrainian border, and then spreading them out throughout the small towns in the area.
In some cases the adults were not allowed to cross the border by Ukrainian forces, but I think in more cases the adults decided to stay because they knew their houses or businesses would be looted and burned if they were not there to protect them.
And many people, especially in the Rostov area were angry. They were angry at the Ukrainian government and at NATO. But they were also angry at Putin. They wanted to know why Putin was not doing more to sort out this mess in Ukraine.
It is a shame though. The citizens of places like Kharkiv and Donetsk, both Ukrainian and Russian, were rubbing along well together before all this. Their kids went to the same schools and they lived on the same streets. It is easy to let hate out of the bottle, but it can take a hundred years to squeeze it back in again. In many ways therefore Obama got his wish. He destabilised and divided Ukraine and unleashed a hatred that will without doubt re-surface again and again.
I flew to Ireland through Kiev two years ago. I have often taken that route without any problems. Big mistake. I won’t be doing it again. They separated out all the Russian passengers and were quite rude to us for no particular reason. Even the girl I ordered coffee from in the airport cafe reacted to me. She approached my table with a beaming smile. But as soon as I spoke she began to scowl, slammed my coffee on the table and stormed away.
I had a lot of friends in college who were from Ukraine. I thought it was quite sad that a girl I didn't know would suddenly hate me because I was born on the other side of a line on the map.