SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A former Mitchell man living in Ukraine says help from the U.S. and other western countries is allowing Ukraine to beat back the Russian invasion. Brian Bonner works as an international journalist and is the former editor of the Kyiv Post newspaper. Brian Bonner says the capital city where he lives, once under siege by Russian forces, is getting back to some sense of normalcy.
“We actually have what looks like traffic jams again and a lot of people on the streets so people are feeling pretty safe, but the bombs from the air can still hit us,” said Bonner.
The latest figures show more than a million people returned to Kyiv after Russian forces withdrew from the area. Bonner says he is fortunate that he has not lost any close friends or relatives to the war.
“Many of my Ukrainian friends are still abroad, scattered to the winds all in different countries and some of them are getting jobs and some of them just don’t want to live next door to Russia anymore because, well we all know why.”
What do you want people back home to know?
“Keep up the fight, keep up the faith, you’ve done a great job America, bipartisan support,” said Bonner.
Bonner views this as a battle of democracy vs a dictatorship. And a great symbolic victory for democracy comes in the form of American fast food.
“McDonald’s said it is pulling out of Russia entirely which is a symbol of, when they went in 30 years ago it was a symbol of a new era and now I think it is also a symbol of a new era. because they said their values just don’t align in Russia any longer,” said Bonner.
Bonner could have come home to America but has decided to stay for now. He is pleased and proud of how his country has responded.
“The fight goes on and I can tell you American help is felt here every day and it is making a huge huge difference.”
Bonner says the applications of Sweden and Finland into NATO are significant. In his position as Editor of the Kyiv Post, he met the President of Finland and says Sauli Niinistö understands the Russian way of thinking.
Bonner says their addition makes NATO even stronger.
Bonner is a 1978 graduate of Mitchell High School. He went on to work as a newspaper reporter and editor in the U.S. and internationally, including as a bureau chief stationed in Moscow.