A Ukrainian commander carried a young girl as he helped people flee across a destroyed bridge on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday. A Ukrainian commander carried a young girl as he helped people flee across a destroyed bridge on the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, on Thursday.HEIDI LEVINE/FTWP

Slava Ukraini! Слава Україні! – Kyiv based artists THE COW share more insights from the war zone

4 mins read

While civilian casualties rise as Putin’s Russia continues their 12th day of military invasion in Ukraine, where men and women are fighting against the unprecedented aggression, we are teaming up with more artists and bands from Ukraine to condemn Russia’s attack and share some of their insider perspectives on this brutal conflict.

In the newest installment of our special series dedicated to the situation in Ukraine (see the previous parts HERE), we sat down with Kyiv based neo-psychedelic rockers THE COW.

Interview conducted on March 6th, the 10th day of the Russian invasion on Ukraine.

Where are you at the moment and where were you at the very beginning of the invasion? How it looked and felt like from your perspective?

THE COW: Three of The COW’s members are located in Kyiv from the beginning of the full scale Russian invasion. We are together with our relatives, volunteer and became Territorial defense members. One of band’s members left Kyiv and went to the safer place.

Since the information about invasion was posted in mass media a long before the actual invasion, it was not surprising. On February 24, at 5 AM, I was woken up by my parents’ phone call. Russian occupational troops started bombing peaceful Ukrainian cities.

What’s your take on this tough subject and how would you assess the current difficult political and situation between Russia and Ukraine? What’s your general stance on this subject and the division between both nations?

THE COW: Me and one more The COW’s member are from Donbass and experienced Russian military aggression and Crimea’s annexation back in 2014 and had to move to Kyiv. We have seen how terrorists, sponsored by Russian Federation invaded and took over Donbass and assumed that there would be no normal life there.

Therefore, our attitude to the events that have taken place since 2014 is unambiguous — the Russian Federation is an aggressor using propaganda and military aggression against Ukraine. This is revenge on the people of Ukraine for the Revolution of Dignity in 2013. The Russian Federation could not put up with Ukraine’s withdrawal from its political influence.

All these years, the Russian Federation has carried out monstrous propaganda against Ukraine, talking about Nazism and the humiliation of the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine. This is a complete lie since we are the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine and there is no discrimination here.

But unfortunately, the population of the Russian Federation is fooled by this propaganda and believes everything that their media say. This made it possible to unleash a full-scale war against Ukraine.

2022-03-08 14_26_00-Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin
Ukrainians crowd under a destroyed bridge as they try to flee crossing the Irpin river in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. Photo by Emilio Morenatti, AP

The complex relationship between your countries is something widely misunderstood, especially in the Western countries. Is there a way to explain the background of this conflict to someone not educated in this matter?

THE COW: At the moment, the abyss of worldviews between our countries is insurmountable. The Russian Federation population still follows the USSR ideology, and the government of the Russian Federation desires to create the USSR 2.0. Ukraine has been an independent country for 30+ years. We do not want to be a satellite of a new near-Soviet dictatorship.

If you look at the history of our countries, Russia has always tried to erase our identity, history and culture. They stole everything they could – the history of Kievan Rus, art, literature, even cuisine, calling all this the property of the people of Russia. But this was not enough for them, because now they want to destroy us physically.

On the other hand, a considerable part of Ukrainian residents are pro-Russian. How do you estimate this ratio of the division between your people? Also, regarding your closest neighborhood, have you felt any palpable appreciation and support towards Russian politics and their agenda?

THE COW: Of course, there is a certain percentage of such people among the population of Ukraine. Thanks to them, the annexation of Crimea and the occupation of Donbas became possible. Such people exist because of the Russian propaganda that fools people and does not allow them to think critically. Every year the number of the pro-Russian population in Ukraine is decreasing. It is impossible to hope that in the modern world lies are stronger than the truth.

On the 10th day of the war, we see that the people of Ukraine are not waiting for the invaders and are putting up strong resistance to them. But people in the Russian Federation think differently, they believe that their armed forces came here to free Ukrainians from the mythical Nazis. They do not believe that their army is bombing peaceful cities and killing civilians. It is a product of propaganda and an absolute loss of humanity.

Oleg Rubak, 32, an engineer who lost his wife Katia, 29, in the shelling, stands on the rubble of his house in Zhytomyr, getty Images
Oleg Rubak, 32, an engineer who lost his wife Katia, 29, in the shelling, stands on the rubble of his house in Zhytomyr, getty Images

How do you think where it’s heading? What future do you see for your country?

THE COW: Each of us fights as we can. Volunteering, territorial defense, Ukrainian army. We will win, otherwise the whole world will be in danger of war, because the Russian Federation will not stop.

Lastly, how can we help?

THE COW: We are grateful to the whole world for the support, material, and moral help to the people of Ukraine. Currently, we all need to convey to NATO and the United States the need to close the sky over Ukraine, because every night can be our last night.

Slava Ukraini! Слава Україні!

About THW COW’s new album “SHVYDSHE NIJ TRIP”:

SHVYDSHE NIJ TRIP by THE COW was released in November 2021. The album is kind of a drug education album on the use of any substances that can alter mental or physical human state. Despite the major musical coloring, the lyrics call for responsible usage and tell about the consequences of drugs overuse. Part of the album is a personal experience and partly an experience of animals that live near a cow in the village.

Through the songs, The COW mocks on the government’s statements on the availability of medicines based on medical cannabis, condemns a society that despises drug addicts, and expresses support for drug addicts in their fighting for themselves. A concept of the album is the translation of the emotional state from the beginning to the endpoint of the psychedelic musical trip.

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