By Wendy Corr, Cowboy State Daily
Five thousand miles from her home, Anastasiia Pereverten is involved in the war that her family is enduring in Ukraine.
But Pereverten is fighting on a different kind of front than the Ukrainian civilians who have taken up arms against invading Russians.
As an exchange student at the University of Wyoming, she is battling the information war while recruiting her fellow UW students and other Wyoming citizens to join her effort to support the innocent victims of Russian aggression.
Pereverten, a cultural studies major at the UW, arrived in the U.S. in January, so she narrowly missed getting caught up in the Russian invasion of Ukraine that began at the end of February.
“I live in Kyiv, and all of my family and all of my friends – all of them live in Kyiv,” Pereverten said. “Now, partly, they still stay there, my parents and some of my other relatives moved to the suburbs of Kyiv. Most of them live in a country house. But my grandparents and my mom’s brothers, a couple of them are still in Kyiv.”
Pereverten said she has been keeping in contact with her family via direct messages and social media. Although her family is currently safe, Pereverten noted that the Russian army isn’t limiting its action to military targets.
“Russian troops are shelling civilians, bombing neighborhoods, killing children and civilians, unarmed people everywhere in every big city or even the villages,” she said. “You can easily find videos on the internet where Russian combat vehicles are shelling civilian cars, or civilian houses, or just killing people who are trying to cross the street.”
Because she is unable to help with the war effort on the ground in her home country, Pereverten is advocating for her country here in Wyoming, contacting reporters across the state to shine a light on the injustices taking place in a country that few people in Wyoming knew much about before the war began.
“Generally in the U.S., the knowledge of the European part of the world is very superficial and it’s cursory,” she said. “I believe that no one I met here knew about, or had known about Ukraine before meeting me.”
Pereverten has also been emailing and calling UW professors and student leaders, along with officials at other colleges and universities, to shine a light on what is happening in Ukraine.
“I’m doing everything I can to expand the knowledge of Ukraine and raising awareness of what’s going on right now,” she said. “On Wednesday, we’re going to have a table in the Union Building campus to inform students about Ukraine.”
Pereverten pointed out that Ukrainians aren’t helpless — they are fighting on several fronts, including the war of information.
“We’ve got our own army,” she said. “And in Ukraine, there is the Ministry of Digital Transformation – they are curating the work of thousands of IT specialists around the globe. Part of them also work on the information on war, and the hybrid war.
“We’ve been in that war for the last eight years, with cyberattacks, misinformation, falsification, disinformation,” she continued. “All of that happened to us. Now it’s more intense. Now there is a fog of war. That’s a dangerous phenomena.”
Pereverten said a rally will be held at the university’s Simpson Plaza at 3 p.m. Wednesday to show support for Ukraine.
“With community pressure, with people protesting, as people sign petitions, addressing their governors, writing letters, issuing official letters, all of that will start working,” she said. “We need to be able to protect Ukrainian skies, because that’s something crucial right now, not just to let our army defend the country and the whole of Europe, but also to save Europe from nuclear threat.”
Pereverten praised her country, and its people, for their strength and perseverance.
“Ukrainians are the greatest people on this planet,” she said. “They are not giving up their territory, never giving up. And that’s not only something I hear from my friends connected to military, but also even from my grandparents, who are staying on the 12th floor in their neighborhood in Kyiv. Everyone’s like, ‘Whatever happens, we’re staying here defending our country.’”
Pereverten stressed the importance of international support for the people of Ukraine, particularly in the face of unprovoked war.
“We cannot predict the extent of their madness right now,” Pereverten said of the Russian leadership. “They are just destroying Ukrainian cities and killing civilians because they cannot resist our army.”
Pereverten supplied a list of credible sources for information on the Russian-Ukrainian war:
For anyone who wishes to help Ukrainians with aid or to bolster the country’s defensive capabilities, Pereverten has compiled a list of what she said are credible resources.
Ukrainian National Bank Fund: