HUNTINGTON, WV (WOWK) – With tensions ongoing between Russia and Ukraine, a Marshall University professor with family in both countries reflects on watching the war unfold.  

“I’m from the Soviet Union, and I actually [watched and read] news 24 hours, literally because I could not believe this was happening right now. And I’m just surprised how people are united against this Putin regime,” says Marshall University professor, Anara Tabyshalieva.

Tabyshalieva says she’s been pleased with the support Ukraine is receiving from other countries in an attempt to put an end to the war. She says that it “shows that people – almost all people – are against this war, against terrible killing of civilians.” 

Right now, she says the biggest thing people everywhere can do to help is “learn more.” She stressed history is only able to repeat itself, and situations like this are only able to happen because people aren’t learning from past events.  

Some families in Ukraine have been divided as women and children are encouraged to leave, and some men have to stay behind to “defend the country,” Reflecting on this Tabyshalieva says, “unfortunately it is a reality,” and one that “reminds us of World War II.”  

“I think another terrible situation might be that Russia might force other communist countries to join this war,” she continued. “I have many friends who are in Russia. I even have relatives in St. Petersburg, and all of them are against this.”  

“I think Russian people are suffering too right now. The Russian soldiers are dying and some young people from Russia didn’t know that it was a war. They were just forced to go to this country,” explains Tabyshalieva. She continued with, “they’re using technology to call their parents and say, ‘what should I do? I don’t want to fight.’ So, it’s a very, very unusual war.”