His wife joined AFU: a journalist from Portugal stood up for Russian-speaking Ukrainians and praised Chernihiv
Ireneu Teixeira, a Portuguese journalist for CNN covering the war in Ukraine, explained why we should not condemn Russian-speaking compatriots. In particular, he cited an example from his personal life: his wife, a military servicewoman, is from the Chernihiv region and has spoken Russian all her life.
He shared his opinion in an exclusive interview with OBOZ.UA. Teixeira believes that although the language issue has a good reason, it should not be so acute.
Even before the full-scale invasion began, in 2017, the Portuguese man visited his wife's homeland, the Chernihiv region. When he became interested in the language issue, he realized that the use of Russian among the Ukrainian population was due to the Soviet period: at least Russian was used in schools and universities.
The journalist notes that until February 2022, the government did not do enough to Ukrainianize citizens. "I tried to explain to my wife's relatives and friends that what identifies every citizen is their language. But I realized that this was all done by the Soviet Union to destroy this identity and to have a so-called reason to enter the territory of Ukraine in the future to 'protect Russian-speaking residents'," Teixeira recalls.
However, at the outbreak of full-scale war, "Russian-speaking" Chernihiv stood firm, not allowing the invaders to advance further. "They showed that yes, they speak Russian, but they are still Ukrainians!" Teixeira says, adding that this should be treated with understanding.
Recalling his wife's experience, the journalist noted that she switched to Ukrainian, although it was not easy for her. During training in Lviv, the military heard provocations from locals who called them Russians. They replied, "While you are teaching us in civilian clothes, we, Russian speakers, are dying for you..."
Earlier, OBOZ.UA wrote about how a CNN journalist from Portugal covers the events in Ukraine: the war is tiring, it is not fashionable, and the news is like football.