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Ukraine, Ukrainian war: Ukrainans share heartbreaking snippets of their lives on TikTok

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Young Ukrainians are taking to TikTok to share heart-wrenching snippets of life since the Russian invasion.

Young Ukrainians are taking to TikTok to show what their lives are like since Russia invaded their countries – and the stories are gut-wrenching.

Where one day they’re sharing the latest TikTok trend and being normal goofy teens, the next they’re fleeing the country or hiding in a bomb shelter. It’s also just showing a daily life that’s wildly different to what I would have expected from all the way over here in my safe Australian home.

Photographer Valeria Shashenok has gone viral for her videos showing war life in Ukraine. One such video shows what a typical day looks like for her, now that she, her parents and their dog are living in a bomb shelter.

Speaking to CNN, Shashenok said: “I feel it’s like my mission to show people how it looks in real life. That it’s real life, and I’m here.”

She continued, “Many Russian people write me that we are with you. … In Russia, (there is) a lot of fake news. And most of the people don’t believe that in my country we have a war. … My mission (is) to show (the) whole world that it’s happen(ing) now in real life, and you can see now (the) war (o)n TikTok”.

She also shares videos showing how they make coffee in the bunker, and how her mum is still able to prepare traditional dishes like Borsct. She also hasn’t lost her humour, sharing one video of a bombed-out shelter ‘thanking’ Russian President Vladimir Putin for the makeover.

“People need to value freedom,” Shashenok continued. “It’s the most important (thing) we have.”

Her latest video detailed how she’s now fled Ukraine for Poland, although an Instagram story she shared confirmed that she had to leave her parents behind.

Another heartbreaking video was shared by Diana Totok, who fled to Romania with her mother and younger sister when the fighting started. Like so many, she also had to leave her father behind thanks to Ukraine’s new wartime martial laws requiring men to stay and fight.

“I was crying and having a panic attack,” Totok told Guardian Australia, “I was so frustrated and scared … Still to this moment I’m not sure if I’m going to see him [again] or not.

“It feels just like a horror movie … I don’t know, filming is just one of the ways I can just put everything that’s going on my mind, like, in order.”

Another TikTok user, Tanya, also showed her living situation since the Russian invasion began. The fact that she used a very common and often lighthearted TikTok trend to do it just makes it all the more surreal.

Kristina Korbs turned her financial TikTok into one sharing life in a war zone over night, sharing running updates of what life is like for her and her family. Including what shopping for food and petrol is like when your country is under siege – apparently it’s limited, but it’s surprising to see how many Ukrainians are still out and about.

Via her Instagram account she shared a selfie she took after the gym the day before the war started. In the caption she stated it was “crazy to think that this photo was taken on a normal day”.

“My heart bleeds daily seeing the terror in the country. In my homeland. This is a nightmare. The peaceful people of Ukraine do not deserve this,” Kristina wrote.

“I love you Ukraine, we will get through this.”

She’s not the only one in shock at how quickly their lives changed. TikTokker Evgenia – who describes herself as a “Ukrainian Muslim girl who loves skating”, shared a video contrasting her life before the war began, with what it currently was.

If, like so many, these TikToks have you wondering even more how you can help Ukraine, there are plenty of ways you can donate or attend events. This article explains it all for you.



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