SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — After a few weeks of visiting friends and family in the U.S., a South Dakota man is back in Ukraine, as that country stares down a possible invasion by Russia.
Brian Bonner, the longtime editor of the Kyiv Post newspaper, is a Mitchell native who lives in Ukraine. He flew back to Kyiv last Sunday. We talked with him today about living under the threat of a war with Russia. Brian Bonner is no stranger to Vladimir Putin. He worked as the Moscow Bureau Chief for Knight Ridder Newspapers during the Russian president’s rise to power.
“I think he was surprised by the strength and unity of the west, by the resolve of the Ukrainians, I’ll tell you if he takes over Ukraine he’s not going to stop there he’s going to be emboldened he plays the long long game,” said Bonner.
Bonner believes Putin has never gotten over the break up of the Soviet Union.
As for life in Ukraine, kids are in school, shops are open and people are going about their business but there is certainly a lot of apprehension.
“I’m worried about how long people can keep a crisis state going, you know it’s exhausting after a while, it definitely has us tuned into the news and panning for emergencies, how would you plan if someone was going to invade America,” said Bonner.
Bonner says there is hope, Putin will find it too costly to invade.
“I think Biden explained it very well. Sovereign nations and the people in them have the right to determine their own destiny this is what democracy is all about. I know South Dakotans stand for this, believe in this whatever party Republican or Democratic, it transcends party. It goes to what kind of world do we want to live in, a civilized one or one where the strong conquer the weak,” said Bonner.
I asked him why people in KELOLAND should care about Ukraine.
“Are we going to live in a civilized world? Or are we going to live in the stone age world? And the stone age world means Putin is going to just keep rolling and we’ve learned the lessons of appeasement, it’s not good. What we do know is that Putin does respond when people stand up to him and I think he’s taken a lot of that into account,” said Bonner.
Bonner says if Russia does invade he expects there will be a tremendous loss of life because the Ukrainian people are determined to fight.