Williamston residents react to the invasion of Ukraine

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Hear from residents and employees of Williamston share their thoughts on how the invasion of Ukraine makes them feel.

Residents of Williamston offer their reactions toward the troubling Ukraine-Russia war that broke out in February.

Aidan Kolstoe, a pre-school employee in Williamston, said his initial reaction to the war to be enraging and saddening.

“I’d probably spend an hour or so before I went to bed and before I woke up for like the first week going through Reddit and watching videos people would post,” said Kolstoe.

Similarly, Quinton Townsend, a Speedway employee in Williamston, shares his primary source of news to be Twitter and Reddit as well, which he checks around two to three times daily.

“I thought it was kind of nuts, maybe World War III might be starting,” said Townsend.

According to The Washington Post, Russia’s military forces are infamously known for riskier, more dangerous tactics.

The BBC reported in early March Russia has almost 6,000 nuclear warheads capable of triggering explosions. 

“They got the largest stockpile of nukes, so that’s kind of scary to hear that they’re invading somewhere that’s that close to NATO,” said Townsend.

Ukraine is independent of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which serves to protect its members in the event of an attack from another non-member. While amid present tensions with Russia, Ukraine is unable to join NATO.

“It makes sense to me. That we’re not going over there yet because obviously Ukraine’s not in NATO, so we don’t have the responsibility to do so but I’m glad that we’re providing humanitarian aid,” said Townsend.

William Young, the bar manager at Zynda’s, a local Williamston restaurant, has been experiencing anxious feelings as he stays up for updates.

“The military might that Russia can bring down is a little scary. Sharing platforms … can give some pretty explicit views of what’s happening from someone who’s actually living in Ukraine. Just seeing devastation and graphic videos of battlegrounds, it’s disturbing, but it’s also reality. It’s a genuine person that’s literally walking through their hometown which three weeks ago was not in shambles,” said Young. 

Young, Kolstoe, and Townsend share the sentiment that a feeling of helplessness looms over them as those in power make decisions without them knowing what motivates their choices.

Young, as a Williamston resident, questions if there is more that can be done. 

“It just doesn’t seem like you can get bipartisan support with the most basic of things and to get them to go help Ukraine seems like another stretch,” said Young.

As terrible circumstances continue to face Ukrainian people, Townsend, 23, hopes to avoid “… all out war. That’s not what we need if they could cease all that would be awesome.”

“It doesn’t serve any justice for me to constantly watch … it’s completely out of my hands. I understand Russia is a terrible country and they deserved to be exiled from the modern political sphere but on one hand one of the reasons why I’m not as connected to it is because America did that too … we’ve destroyed governments over oil,” said Kolstoe.

While concerns have grown overseas, a more local reaction regards the surge in gas prices reaching record high costs due to pre-existing inflation and president Biden’s ban on the imports of Russian fuel.

On the other hand, responses show the community is willing to cooperate at their own expense.

“I don’t mind paying higher gas prices if it’s in support of Ukraine,” said Young.

Townsend said, “Since it initially started I’ve raised the gas prices up myself here four times.” as of March 12. He said, “the price of regular gas usually sits at $3.89 per gallon.”

As a gas station clerk, Townsend often hears customers mumbling under their breath phrases like “damn Russia!”

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