Ukrainian journalist's letter to the world: Every time you think you are not threatened by war, remember Bucha in Ukraine

On May 8, this year, on Victory Day over Nazism saying "never more" makes no sense. "More" has just happened. In Ukraine. In the until recently peaceful town of Bucha. A town which is situated 30 kilometres from the very centre of one of European capital cities - Kyiv.

For most people in Europe this was a typical weekend – a few more ordinary days in their lives. Charles might have been quietly enjoying his book over breakfast in peaceful Paris, whereas somewhere in Berlin Johanna might have been making the most of planning a party with her friends while sipping her morning coffee. Meanwhile in Ukraine, these were days of horror and atrocity. 

I would like to take you on a virtual tour of Bucha – a town on the map of Europe that has already been named a new Srebrenica. A town which for 33 days remained under Russian occupation, until they retreated. And it is now that we see the scale of the tragedy they have left behind. 

This is Jablonska Street. Until recently it was full of smiling people walking by. Full of traffic. Full of life. Today it is strewn with dead Ukrainians with their hands tied behind their backs and gunshot wounds to the head. Human Rights Watch shares the testimony of the survivors: Russian soldiers forced five men to kneel at the side of the street, pulled their T-shirts over their heads and shot one of them in the back of the head. 

It pains me to even imagine what these people felt in the last moments of their lives. What were their last thoughts? 

Nearby there is a body of a Ukrainian who was going somewhere on his bicycle. There are bodies of women who were going to get some water... There is a wreckage of a car crushed by a tank – the body of the driver still inside. 

And this is a basement where the locals kept their things, until recently. This is where first responders found eighteen maimed bodies of men, women and children – their ears cut off and teeth pulled out. 

Let’s walk on. Here is a mass grave. For almost 300 Ukrainians. It was not long ago when these people lived, worked, studied, loved, smiled... 

Bucha today is no longer just a town name. It is a symbol of new crimes perpetrated by Russia. It is a tragic story of hundreds of tortured and murdered Ukrainians. Of raped women and children. 

How to even call it? I fear the word „fascism" is an understatement for such cruelty. 

With this article, on behalf of „Expres", Ukraine-based newspaper, I would like to appeal to all global media, politicians, international organisations, which are still just „concerned" about what is happening in Ukraine.  

Every time you decline to send weapons to Ukraine, to establish a no-fly zone, remember Bucha.  

Every time you stubbornly claim that Russia is the guarantor of Ukraine’s security, remember Bucha.  

Every time you think you are not threatened by war, remember Bucha.  

If you look away and remain silent today, tomorrow Bucha might happen in Poland, Baltic states or Germany. 

Remember that everyone who claims they respect democracy must help Ukraine today. 

We have no doubt that Ukraine will win this war. Yet, Bucha will remain a painful scar in our hearts forever. 

Щоразу, коли ви думатимете, що війна вам не загрожує, згадуйте українську Бучу
Zawsze, kiedy myślisz, że nie grozi ci wojna, pamiętaj o ukraińskiej Buczy
(ukrainian and polish translation)

***Uliana Vitiuk- Editor-in-chief of the Ukrainian newspaper Express, editor of the media, founder of the Mark Twain Academy of Practical Journalism.