The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Vanderbilt students, sponsored by Max Kade Center, commemorate the Ukraine invasion with “20 Days in Mariupol”

Ukrainian students on campus showed a screening of “20 Days in Mariupol” in Buttrick Hall with the support of the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies.
Salma Elhandaoui
Students watch “20 Days in Mariupol” on a projector screen in Buttrick Hall, as photographed on Feb. 23, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Salma Elhandaoui)

Almost exactly two years ago, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Trapped in the port city of Mariupol, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Mstyslav Chernov captured defining images of the war: bombings, mass graves and the grief of those who lost their loved ones. Oscar-nominated documentary “20 Days in Mariupol” reminds viewers the war still rages on. A group of Vanderbilt students held a screening of the documentary on Feb. 23.

For some Vanderbilt students, the war hits close to home. Hanna Kostiv, a sophomore from Ukraine, shared her thoughts about the war.

“As exhausted as Ukrainians are, there is no talk of surrender because we know that there is only one way to end it: to defeat Russia,” Kostiv said. “A peace deal, any peace deal, would only give Russia a chance to regroup and deal a final blow to Ukraine — and likely, to attack other countries. Moreover, signing a peace deal means betraying Ukrainians living under Russian occupation and subjecting them to continued torture and loss of fundamental human rights.” 

“20 Days in Mariupol” echoes Kostiv’s words. Graphic videos depict the tortured cries of Ukrainian parents who lost their children and sobbing doctors powerlessly trying to save their patients. The documentary reminds students the issues present in the film are real. 

Students watch doctors in Ukraine treating patients in “20 Days in Mariupol,” as photographed on Feb. 23, 2024. (Hustler Multimedia/Salma Elhandaoui) (Salma Elhandaoui)

Over the course of the documentary, the violence escalates from bomb strikes to machine gunfire, and then Russian army tanks enter Mariupol with the letter “Z,” the Russian sign of war. All of the footage in the film depicting the violence and lives lost inspired Russia to create a misinformation campaign in response; they proclaimed that victims are social media influencers or actors trying to harm Russia’s reputation. The true story is Ukrainians standing in the rubble of their homes and mourning the lives of those they have lost.  

Diana Nalyvaiko, a junior from Ukraine, shared her thoughts about how the documentary made her feel.

“This documentary doesn’t just show the events; it brings them to life, making it a must-watch for understanding the Russian-Ukrainian war,” Nalyvaiko said. “Unfortunately, not a lot of people are keeping up with the updates about the invasion, being tired of the news. However, the war is still there today, and many more Ukrainians are suffering from the attacks of the terrorist state. For this reason, I believe more members of the Vanderbilt community should learn about the invasion, especially now, two years into the full-scale invasion and a decade into the war.”

Closing remarks about the documentary and the future of the invasion were given by Kostiv.

“It is time to admit the period of peace in Europe is over. The сrucial actions are made on the battlefield every day and Congress should take action as well,” Kostiv said. “The Senate has passed life-saving supplemental aid for Ukraine with a clear bipartisan majority. Now, Speaker Mike Johnson must bring this supplemental aid to the floor for a vote and members of the House of Representatives must vote yes and make sure it passes. This aid package, which members of Congress have considered for months and been briefed on multiple times, will make a difference for Ukrainians and Americans alike.”

View comments (1)
About the Contributors
Henry Shear
Henry Shear, Staff Writer
Henry Shear (‘26) is from San Diego, and is majoring in philosophy with a minor in psychology in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find him eating at Velvet Taco, watching tennis matches or spending time with friends at Rand. He can be reached at [email protected].
Salma Elhandaoui
Salma Elhandaoui, Staff Writer and Photographer
Salma Elhandaoui (‘27) is from Brooklyn, N.Y., and is majoring in neuroscience and medicine, health and society and minoring in environmental and sustainability studies in the College of Arts and Science. When not writing for The Hustler, you can find her playing the guitar, writing endless poems, curating strange Spotify playlists and exploring the virtual world. She can be reached at [email protected].
More to Discover

Comments (1)

The Vanderbilt Hustler welcomes and encourages readers to engage with content and express opinions through the comment sections on our website and social media platforms. The Hustler reserves the right to remove comments that contain vulgarity, hate speech, personal attacks or that appear to be spam, commercial promotion or impersonation. The comment sections are moderated by our Editor-in-Chief, Rachael Perrotta, and our Social Media Director, Chloe Postlewaite. You can reach them at [email protected] and [email protected].
All The Vanderbilt Hustler picks Reader picks Sort: Newest
Notify of
1 Comment
Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Keady Fitzmaurice Peaper
1 month ago

Great article about such an important topic happening now. Really impactful that you interviewed students with direct ties to Ukraine.