Dmytro Malyk finds it hard to watch the news these days.
For more than 100 days, the 41-year-old Winnipeg resident has been staying on top of daily updates from his homeland Ukraine, which has been engaged in a brutal war with Russia that has shaken Europe and the world.
“I’m subscribed to multiple social media channels, Telegram channels; I’m following TV channels and different articles because I want to know what’s happening in my homeland, what’s happening in all those places where my relatives live, where my friends live,” he told Global News.
“It’s hard to believe that it’s still happening.”
After building up his troops near Ukraine’s borders for months, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24 as part of a “special military operation” he sold as an attempt to rid the neighbouring country of extremists.
Kyiv and its western allies called Putin’s order a baseless pretext to invade a country of 44 million people in an effort to topple its government, which was forging ties with the West.
Friday marked 100 days of the war and since it started, thousands have died and millions more have fled in what is the worst conflict Europe has seen since the Second World War.
For Ukrainian-Canadians thousands of kilometres from the frontlines, watching the war unfold with their loved ones still in the country has been agonizing.
Anastasiya Khoma has difficulty remembering the first two weeks of the conflict.
“I barely remember those days because it was just chaos and a lot of stress, a lot of crying, a lot of sleepless nights,” the 28-year-old Edmonton resident told Global News.
“We thought we were ready for anything to happen, but we were not actually ready for the war to start.”
In the first phase of the war from February to early April, Russia launched a widespread assault on the country, including an attempted blitz in and around the capital Kyiv to topple the government.
Russian forces pounded towns with artillery, leaving a wake of destruction in their path. That phase of the war ultimately failed, forcing Moscow to concentrate its fight in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, which is now the focal point of the war.
Malyk’s parents, who live in western Ukraine, further away from the frontlines, saw their share of bombings. After their hometown was bombed for the third or fourth time, he insisted his mother come to Canada. She arrived in March, he said.