BRIGHTON, Mich. (WLNS) – Summer break is usually a time for college students to recharge, get that internship or save up for the upcoming school year. But for Michigan State University Student Max Ostafiichuk, this summer is different as he watches the war in his homeland of Ukraine surpass 100 days.
“Time flies really fast, so I’m kind of surprised that it’s been a hundred days already and I’m also like bamboozled that like it takes so long just to settle this,” he said.
Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Ostafiichuk said he balanced classes, exams and following the fighting tearing his homeland apart. In March, he joined dozens of Ukrainian students and supporters calling for more international support during the early days of the conflict.
Months later, he’s back in Brighton with his mom, working and saving up for his senior year studying kinesiology. But since then, the fighting has reached his family, leaving his uncle injured after serving in combat.
“He got like two bullets shot into him, maybe three actually. And so, he was laid off the war completely and they sent him home to recover of course. But once he recovered, it was kind of his choice on whether he wanted to get back into the war or not,” he said. “He chose to go because he wanted to obviously protect his country.”
His dad is now on the frontlines and keeping in touch has been hard with messages going unanswered for weeks at a time. He never though the fighting would reach his childhood home’s front steps.
“We were safe on the west side of Ukraine and obviously now, the troops are progressing, the Russian troops are progressing closer to where my parents live. My father was basically forced to go into the war, like he had no choice,” Ostafiichuk said.
As the war drags on, he said his Ukrainian identity only gets stronger and stronger with each day that passes.
“I was born in Ukraine, you know, moved to the states. Ukrainian is already in my blood and stuff. But I never really cared about my country as much as I care about it now,” he said.
Ostafiichuk said he plans on visiting his dad’s side of the family again once the war comes to an end. He added he’ll be there to help the country pick up the pieces when its time to rebuild.