'I am a Ukrainian' video goes viral in bid to shine light on protests
The woman behind the YouTube video “I am a Ukrainian” says she decided to speak out after long-simmering protests in her homeland turned deadly.
“This need of attracting attention to our big problem, to our big tragedy was my main motivation to make this video,” the woman, known only as “Yulia,” told CTV’s Canada AM on Thursday.
Ukrainians have been protesting since November, demanding their government foster closer ties with the European Union.
Since the video was released on Feb. 10, as protests turned deadly in Ukraine, it has been viewed more than 3 million times.
“I couldn’t expect that it would grab so much attention because it’s bad circumstances, it’s a tragedy,” she said. “But I’m happy we’ll heal.”
The haunting video tells the story of a country struggling under the weight of oppression and of its people who dream of freedom.
“We have this freedom inside our hearts, we have this freedom in our minds, and now I ask you to build this freedom in our country,” Yulia says in the clip. “You can help us only by telling this story to your friends, only be sharing this video, please share it, speak to your friends, speak to your family, speak to your government and show that you support us.”
Signs of progress, following the release of protesters on Feb. 16, quickly evaporated when at least 26 were killed and hundreds more injured in clashes Wednesday. Then, hours after Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych announced a truce with opposition leaders, fierce, deadly clashes erupted once again.
But Yulia says she hopes the video will bring attention to the ongoing violence in Ukraine.
“I hope it will work, I hope it will save at least someone,” she said.