This week, Russian president Vladimir Putin launched an invasion of Ukraine.
Thousands have already fled the country, fearing for what their lives could become under Russian control.
Countless more have sought refuge in other nations simply to avoid the conflict, which is so intense that bombs can be heard across the nation.
There is a real, visceral horror as the world watches, and many fear that no amount of sanctions or “civilized” penalties to Russia will stem the slaughter.
It is not unreasonable that many 90 Day Fiance fans have had certain cast members and their families in their thoughts.
The franchise has seen a large number of cast members from both countries.
As the people of hundreds of nations watch this brutal conquest take place, these past and present cast members are speaking out.
Yara Zaya is from Ukraine
Viewers watched and grew to love her. She often referred to how much she loves her home, misses her family, and frankly, isn’t a New Orleans gal at heart. As the invasion of Ukraine commenced, Yara expressed her horror on social media.
She never thought that this would happen
Yes, Putin’s mad ambitions have put Ukraine in his crosshairs before. But this? Yara has been on calls with multiple friends in Ukraine. Even people in the western regions of the country are being awoken by the sounds of bombs.
She hasn’t been home in more than two years
Between the pandemic and the realities of paperwork — there is documentation that you must have if you intend to leave and return without issue, as other 90 Day Fiance stars have made clear — Yara hasn’t been back to Ukraine in 2.5 years. She was planning to visit home in March — which starts next week. Now, she has to be fearing that she may never be able to return to a free and sovereign Ukraine.
It’s an appalling thought
Yara shared photos and memories of her home as it was before Putin’s forces began bombing it from land, air, and sea.
Yara isn’t sticking to Instagram, either
Early Friday morning, after admitting that she has not gotten much sleep (understandably), Yara shared that she was en route to do an interview about the invasion of Ukraine. She even coordinated her clothing to match the flag of Ukraine.
Yara is not alone
Her husband, Jovi, spoke of how emotional of a time this is for his family. His wife is from Ukraine, his in-laws are in Ukraine. This is a scary time for everyone, but most of all for those with a personal connection to the nation that is under siege by a hostile aggressor.
Miss Gwen also shared her support
Gwen has not been to Ukraine. Like countless people, she has opted to share her support rather than try to speak over those who are most personally affected or know best how to help. Gwen is one of the most universally beloved people to appear on the franchise, and with good reason.
Alina is from Russia
Alina — not Alina Kasha, who has been edited out of Before The 90 Days after a racism scandal, but the OTHER Alina who traveled to Turkey to meet a nice-haired American — is from Russia, and showed her heartbroken support for Ukraine.
She shared a post from another Russian native
Re-posting Varya Malina’s post in her Stories, Alina shamed the Russian government for this unprovoked and inexcusable invasion of a sovereign neighbor.
As for Varya’s post …
While we do not always agree with Varya’s assessment of the character of evil men (Geoffrey, we’re talking about Geoffrey), her description of Vladimir Putin as a “bloodthirsty old coocoo man” is right on the nose. Like the rest of us, she is horrified that this is happening.
Julia Trubkina is also from Russia
Julia is living in Virginia and has never been part of the Russian government (in fact, shortly after arriving in the United States, she claimed to not be interested in politics — possibly just to avoid a conversation with Brandon’s mother, which is more than understandable). Despite this, some have attacked her simply for being Russian. She did not order the invasion and she opposes it. Many of us in America know what it is like to watch with shame and horror as our country chooses to launch a senseless war based upon lies and propaganda. (On a personal note, I was in Italy when the invasion of Iraq began, and while circumstances were not quite identical, I think that I can guess exactly how Julia is feeling)
Julia doesn’t want war
The people of Russia don’t want war, either. The vicious authoritarian who leads the country initiated this conflict.
Julia even spoke about it elsewhere
While Dr. Drew isn’t really who we would go to if we wished to discuss an invasion (or for anything else, for that matter), Julia spoke to him about it, including the dangerous spread of misinformation that accompanies this conflict.
Alina Kasha shared the anti-war protests
It cannot be emphasized enough that this is a tremendous risk for any protester. More than 1,000 Russian citizens had been arrested or detained by authorities for protesting against the invasion of Ukraine. Protest is not protected by Russian law, and every person doing it risks having their lives upended.
How can we help?
Alina, a Russian citizen, has been wondering just like the rest of us how one can help. On a national level, the literal best thing is for borders to open for anyone fleeing Ukraine, waving visas and not requiring passports. Some countries have already done so. On the personal level, individuals can donate to legitimate, reputable organizations (not random Twitter accounts created this week) to get emergency supplies to those fleeing Ukraine. Many of them have had to leave behind a lifetime of belongings and may need help surviving.
Alina is not 90 Day Fiance’s favorite person following her racism scandal. It is still a good thing that she is using her platform to speak on this issue. Doing bad in the past does not mean that one cannot do good in the present.
Alina has a personal connection to Ukraine
She shared a throwback photo of herself as a child visiting her grandmother in Ukraine.
This was once a regular thing
Alina admitted that she didn’t even realize exactly when she stopped going to Ukraine regularly for these visits. Like so many others, she is unsure of when she or anyone else might be able to return — and what Ukraine will look like.
Alina’s friend Elijah spoke up
Elijah, who quickly gained a fan favorite status among many viewers as he played third wheel with Alina and Caleb, did not mince words, expressing his shame at living under Russia’s current (and decades-spanning) political regime. Our hearts go out to him and all who live under Putin’s grasp — including a growing number of Ukrainians.
Anfisa is from Russia, but does not seem to be saying much on Instagram. Perhaps she is waiting to find the right words.
Many 90 Day Fiance fans have thought of Natalie’s elderly mother during this grim time. We’re sure that Natalie is, too. Natalie does not seem to be talkative, but she may be more focused upon staying in touch with loved ones who are living in a war zone than she is on making public statements. We wish her mother the very best.
Jesse Meester, for some reason …
Sometimes, it’s better to share something kind like Gwen did than to write up something of your own about a topic to which you have no connection. This is especially true when what you write is the sort of pointless statement that sounds very smart to dumb people, though that is admittedly Jesse’s whole brand. Jesse, this is not your moment.