Oksana Shvets, one of Ukraine’s most beloved and legendary actors has been killed in a Russian attack on Kiev. According to reports, Shvets died in a Russian rocket attack on her residential building in Ukraine’s capitol city. She was 67, and was a long-standing and well-respected member of both the film and theater communities of her country. For years, she had been a member of the Young Theater company, where she had dozens of stage credits over five decades of work. She was also known for popular Ukrainian films like Tomorrow Will Be Tomorrow and The Mystery of Saint Patrick, as well as television series such as House with Lilies (in which she was a series regular). In 1996, she was awarded the Merited Artist of Ukraine award, given for outstanding achievement in the performing arts. Her death is a tragic loss to the Ukrainian art community, the Ukrainian people, and to performers everywhere.
The death of Oksana Shvets is a high-profile tragedy, as the actor was a well-known and respected figure in Ukraine (and in the world of international film). The invasion of Ukraine by the Russian Federation led by Vladimir Putin has also caused hundreds of deaths of less famous individuals. While both the civilian and combatant death toll among Ukrainians is difficult to parse an exact number, it is currently estimated by the United Nations to be over 500 and rising. This includes the known death toll of children in the attacks. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy recently called for mourning for the estimated 1,300 military deaths so far on their side of the conflict. The number of Russian casualties in Ukraine resulting from the invasion is difficult to estimate due to Russia being unwilling to provide precise numbers, but US intelligence believes it to be approximately 7,000 thus far (though some estimates are as high as more than 10,000).
Ukrainian and Russian deaths alike are a deep tragedy as a result of the attack, which is reportedly deeply unpopular among both the Russian civilian populace and the military ranks. It also has been enormously damaging to both the Russian economy and to their standing in the global community. Dozens of international businesses have pulled out of the Russian Federation and refused to do business in the country until the conflict is resolved, including major corporations like Netflix, McDonald’s, and ExxonMobil. Additionally, many nations (including the United States and other NATO members) have leveled trade sanctions on Russia that even Vladimir Putin acknowledges as affecting them. In all the talk of trade and economy, it is even more important to remember the loss of human lives like Oksana Shvets.
The current Ukrainian-Russian conflict does not show signs of stopping, as Russia continues to bombard cities, military targets, and civilian centers alike. The stress of the conflict is affecting virtually every aspect of global relations, from oil prices to food chain supply to aerospace exploration. We can only hope that a cease-fire is reached as soon as possible. RIP Oksana Shvets.