Editor's note: This month, ELLE editors from 22 different countries gathered online to speak with Sonya Zabouga, editor-in-chief of ELLE Ukraine. Speaking from her home in Kyiv, Sonya told us what life was like in a city under attack: endless air sirens, networks of information on how to buy food, and a feeling that no where was safe. Since Russia began its invasion, ELLE Ukraine took a new editorial direction. Stories about fashion month were replaced with stories on how to prepare for siege warfare, what to do if stopped at a checkpoint, and how to give birth in a bomb shelter. It's a starkly different life to the one Ukrainians were enjoying just weeks ago. Here, ELLE Australia has chosen to publish an open letter from Sonya, which you can read below.
February 24, 2022 divided the life of Ukrainians into BEFORE and AFTER.
Who would have thought that the words about the military operations that we remember from the history books about the Second World War would become a harsh reality in the lives of Ukrainians. Who would have thought that 77 years after the end of the Second World War, civilians of Ukraine would spend the night in bomb shelters, cities would be shelled by rocket attacks, and tanks would drive along the streets where Ukrainians had recently rushed about their usual business.
Who would have thought that today we like the generation of the Second World War, we will follow the rules of survival in war conditions: seal the windows of houses with adhesive tape to protect them from the shock wave, dim, or better turn off the lights so as not to attract the attention of aviation at night, instantly respond to the sounds of a serena announcing air strikes, hurrying to the nearest bomb shelter...
We thought that the era of feudal conquests with the invasion of foreign territory was already in the past. But apparently there are people who live by the values of the past.
What is happening in Ukraine is a crime and must be stopped.
Shock and fear today are mixed with an incredible sense of patriotism and unity that has rallied the Ukrainian nation. As never before, we are ready to do everything to defend our right to peace and self-determination. We are grateful to everyone who is with us at this difficult time. Your support helps us to be stronger.
How to help Ukraine, from ELLE Australia's editors
Donating money to registered charities is one of the most effective ways to help people on the ground, charity organisers say. They simply don't have time to sort through donated goods, even if items are in perfect condition.
Some charities doing good work in this space include:
You can also take community action, such as attending a rally. The Association of Ukrainians in Victoria held a rally on February 27, and are planning more events.