It was 2:30 in the morning on February 24 when Maksym Maliuta finally fell asleep. That night, he had been arguing with his college classmates, who dismissed warnings of a Russian invasion of Ukraine as “Western media panic.” No, Maksym insisted, the signs were all there: Vladimir Putin was building up to a massive military operation.
Maksym had been asleep two hours when his phone rang. Russian airstrikes were raining on cities across Ukraine, his cousin called to tell him. Maksym went online and found a video of missiles exploding in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city. Then he went into his parents’ room and woke them with the news: Putin was attacking their country.