Jennifer Zamparelli chats to the youngest ever Ukrainian MP, Sviatoslav Yurash about what it's like in Ukraine two months into the war. Aged just 26 years old, he was elected MP at just 23 and since the outbreak of the war he's been vocal on social media against the assault.
When he was first elected, he recalls that there was "very clear momentum for change" in Ukraine. Speaking from Kyiv, where the Russian forces have been pushed back by Ukrainian fighters, he said the city had turned into a "fortress".
"The reality is that in the beginning this was about defiance and showcasing to the world and Russia that our nation does want to choose our own future and build itself into that future. But with a month going by and everyone losing somebody or feeling the pain in one way or another in this war, there is a need for justice that we all feel very clearly. We will not leave without getting that."
What should have never happened again is happening again.— Sviatoslav Yurash (@SviatoslavUA) April 6, 2022
As we liberate our country, Russian horror in Ukraine will shock the world evermore.
Will you help us?
In Borodyanka with my unit and an endless supply convoy for everyone who survived despite all. pic.twitter.com/UlWVjXlkr1
Yurash himself suffered enormous loss during the war, as his girlfriend of over 10 years, Oleksandra Kuvshynova, was killed by a Russian attack. "Russians shelled the car that she was in, in Kyiv. It killed instantly all those on board. The reality is she was a journalist telling the world what is happening in Ukraine, and Russians have taken her life as well as so many others.
"I keep telling that Oleksandras are in their thousands by this day and they are dying all around Ukraine, every single day. The more the West waits for decisive steps to be taken to stop this madness, the more Oleksandras will die."
Amid such loss and pain, Yurash says that he stays motivated by remembering "what they were doing, not just Oleksandra died that day, also a proud Irishmen died that day, Pierre Zakrzewski, who I knew very well through years of working with them when I was a journalist.
"The reality is they were trying to tell the world a story and that story is about the madness that is wrought by the Russians in Ukraine right now. What we need is to continue doing what they were doing ... because they had that in them that basically cost their lives. We will continue their work."
The beauty of Kyiv— Sviatoslav Yurash (@SviatoslavUA) March 16, 2022
Alexandra Kuvshynova, young journalist was murdered by the Russians.
Her I loved.Decade of happiness and sadness, joy and pain, meaning and loss. Only death could have parted us.
Now I learn to hate. You shall never be forgotten.They shall never be forgiven. pic.twitter.com/avipg7CeGX
In the wake of his girlfriend's death, Yurash posted a moving photo of himself and Oleksandra in their youth, writing, "Now I learn to hate".
Speaking about the support for Ukraine from Ireland, Yurash said it was "music to our ears".
"All these actions, all the support and help that you are giving, all the refugees that you are taking in is a symbol to us of our relation that we have on the other side of Europe. I cannot thank you enough for doing everything and anything to help us in the circumstances."
Listen back to the full interview here.