Sandra Chapman: Why Putin’s war in Ukraine is so hard on the local women

Russia’s battle with Ukraine is horrific.

By The Newsroom
Friday, 8th April 2022, 9:57 am
A mother embraces her son who escaped the besieged city of Mariupol and arrived at the train station in Lviv, western Ukraine (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
A mother embraces her son who escaped the besieged city of Mariupol and arrived at the train station in Lviv, western Ukraine (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

For women in particular to be turfed out of their homes carrying babies with toddlers hanging on to them for dear life is a disaster we can scarcely comprehend.

What kind of life is it living in a basement which at any time could be blown by the invaders or packed into a bus crammed with others not knowing if it’s going to be blown up before it reaches a destination where some facilities are available?

How do these women cope with babies who require nappies and food whilst the older ones she may have with her are so scared they cannot sleep.

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How do they cope with menstruation, nappy changes and little ones crying and wetting themselves out of fear? Then there are the beloved pets they had to leave behind, distraught no doubt with the noise of war, lack of food and human company.

Expectant mothers have died in the Mariupol theatre blast having fled the local hospital for safety.

There was no safe place for this next generation a prospect too painful to comprehend.

There will be the older mothers whose sons have had to remain to fight this war, young men who were probably in the middle of what we know as GCSEs and A levels with a view to going to university.

The horrors of what is happening around them will change them forever. And as for the widespread rape of the younger women by Putin’s soldiers – the International Criminal Court and the UN Human Rights Council will have to deal with this, but it could take years for the guilty to be brought before any of these organisations.

And what about the old people, unable to walk to safer places, who bedded down in dangerous basements, dependent on whatever food they can find from the courageous people on the outside?

From television footage and courageous war journalists we know that many of them have been shot when they ventured out to find food.

There are endless stories of how women have been raped and young men left tied up and lifeless, young men who couldn’t get on the buses to escape. We thought all these horrors ended with World War 11. Vladimir Putin is ‘guilty of war crimes’ says Boris Johnson in a message to the Russian people. Are those Russians listening or have they been brainwashed to believe it’s all the fault of others?

Here, we have lived through periods of horrendous violence yet our biggest battle at the moment appears to be with the NHS, with another looming over the continuously increasing costs of what we need for everyday living such as heat, lighting and food. The generous pay packets of senior NI council staff is a source of contention.

Forty five of them are earning over £100k with one of the highest taking home an annual salary over £170,000. One of those high earners is currently suspended.

But wars don’t start because people are paid too well. They start when a leader believes that another territory should belong to him and his people and it would help him look good if he could get his hands on it.

Putin is the classic example of a megalomaniac who clearly believes it’s OK to kill to get what you want.

Many of his soldiers have been dying in this war he started but the average Russian mama is programmed to believe her son will have died in a good cause.

Here, it is now election time again and our voting cards popped through the letterbox this week along with a ‘why you should vote for me’ brochure by one of the candidates.

It all seems so normal compared to what is going on in Ukraine. The future of the Protocol is probably the most frustrating issue in this coming election and your average Ukrainian would probably think we are fighting over nothing compared to what’s happening in his country. Sir Jeffrey Donaldson DUP leader says this election is a wake-up for those who support the Union.

I’m praying for Ukraine’s future.